After opening the season with back-to-back losses, the Eastport South Manor football team rebounded to even its record at 2-2 in Division III with a 49-14 rout of Kings Park at home on Saturday night.
“This win is big for us,” ESM head coach Bill Ashton said. “We came out of the gate against the two best teams in the division and played tough but just didn’t have the horses to go with them.
He continued, “So after that we said, ‘Ok, if we want to make the playoffs, we have to start making a run here.’ And that’s what we’re doing.”
The offense came early and often for the Sharks with Jake Hobbie putting the first points of the day on the board for the host team. Hobbie cradled in the toss from quarterback Matt Kane, cut to the left side and ran it in for a 20-yard score. Nijay Brown’s kick was good for a 7-0 lead less than four minutes into the game.
Just four minutes later, Kane kept it for himself and ran it in from the five. Kane set himself up for the score with a massive 30-yard run just three plays prior. Again, Brown’s kick split the uprights and ESM led 14-0.
The Sharks extended their lead when Kane threw for a 62-yard score, connecting with Dan McCormick, who effortlessly caught the ball on the run, over his shoulder, with just more than eight minutes to play in the half.
ESM capped its first-half scoring with an 18-play drive spanning 4:21, including more than 30 yards in penalties against the visitors. The final play of the drive came as Kane found Dylan Demassi for a four-yard score as time expired in the half. Brown’s point after gave ESM a 28-0 advantage going into the locker room.
It was much of the same in the second half as ESM opened the quarter with a Pat Minogue score just two minutes into the half for a 35-0 lead.
Kings Park managed to score twice to cut the lead to 35-14, however, the Sharks answered with 14 more points of their own for a 49-14 final.
And while the offense put up impressive numbers, perhaps the most notable showing of the game was a defensive goal-line stand to open the fourth quarter. With the game pretty much in the books as ESM led 42-14 at the time, the Kingsmen opened the fourth quarter with a first-and-goal at the one. The Sharks defense came up with four stops in a row, including a sack on fourth down to hold the visitors scoreless on the drive.
“That was key for us,” Ashton said. “At the half, we said to the kids, play in the second half like it’s zero-zero. If you want to be a champion, you have to play like one. When a team is down, you have to keep them down. A couple times when it looked like they wanted to come back, we were able to get back on them. Those are things we have to do from now on to make us a playoff team.”
It was a career day for Kane who completed 25 of 35 passes for 375 yards and four touchdowns. He also chewed up 50 yards on the ground on seven carries. McCormick caught 11 passes for 205 yards while Minogue led the defense with three sacks.
Following a bye in week five, the Sharks head to neighbor Westhampton Beach on October 10.