The Westhampton Beach football team started last week’s game at Comsewogue with three turnovers, which usually spells defeat for most teams, but thanks to a stout defensive effort, the Hurricanes rebounded with a 28-7 victory over the Warriors on Thursday, October 2.
The win pushed Westhampton Beach to 3-2 in Division III with 112.70 power points, which puts the team in fifth place.
Within the game’s first nine minutes last week, Westhampton Beach had thrown an interception and lost two fumbles. Comsewogue, though, only capitalized on one of the three turnovers. With 2:46 remaining in the first quarter, Zach Deutsch ran the ball 37 yards for a touchdown, and after a successful extra point, the Warriors held a 7-0 lead. However, that would be all Comsewogue would muster on offense.
On the ensuing kickoff, Westhampton Beach senior Bryce Phillips returned the ball to Comsewogue’s 15-yard line and it seemed to jumpstart what had been a sluggish Hurricanes team. Phillips, for the fourth time this season, returned the ball inside the opposing team’s 20-yard line. Had he scored, it would have been the third straight week Phillips returned a kickoff for a touchdown.
“I thought I was going for it … I got excited,” he said with a laugh. “The kick return team has really been working hard the past couple of games. We’re all getting our blocks and that really helps getting the offense going.”
A few minutes later, after a few strong runs by freshman Dylan Laube, senior Patrick Dean took the ball five yards and dove into the end zone for a touchdown. After Ryan Wagner’s extra point, the game was tied at 7-7.
Early in the second quarter, it was the Hurricanes turn to take the ball away on defense. Senior Hunter Hulse intercepted a pass and brought it to his team’s 40-yard line. Nearly a minute later, Dean took off for a 31-yard touchdown run and Wagner’s extra point made it 14-7.
With 4:22 remaining in the first half, senior Henry Moreta capitalized off of some more strong running by Laube, scoring on a 12-yard run to make it 21-7 after the extra point. Westhampton Beach added its final score of the game with 2:23 remaining in the third, when Moreta hooked up with a wide-open Wagner on a 31-yard touchdown reception. Wagner then added the extra point to account for all seven points on the play.
The players and coaches came to the consensus that playing a late, Thursday night away game took a while for the team to get adjusted to, but Phillips’ long kickoff return is what got it back in gear. “That definitely got the team going,” Dean said following the game. “We had a couple of mistakes in the beginning but that return really got everyone’s minds switched, got everyone focused. After that we just played great.”
Westhampton Beach head coach Bill Parry appreciated the way his defense played and didn’t allow the first-quarter turnovers to effect the outcome of the game. Comsewogue had 232 yards of total offense, with 78 of those yards coming on the ground to Comsewogue’s top player in Deutsch.
“I thought they did pretty well,” Parry said of his team. “We still need to work on a few things up front but we played real good defense and ran the ball well. Still have our work cut out for us offensively but it’s getting better every game.”
Westhampton Beach will clash with cross-town rival Eastport South Manor at home on Friday night, with kickoff slated for 6 p.m. The Canes defeated the Sharks, 41-20, the last time the two teams met in 2012. Fast forward to this season and ESM is just behind Westhampton Beach in the standings with a 2-2 record and 107.70 power points.
“We both have our strengths and weakness, but this is one of the better Eastport teams since they’ve had a team,” Parry said. “I think they’re actually better than they were last year. They’re good. They have a lot of weapons.”
“It should be interesting,” Phillips said of the upcoming game. “It’s homecoming, it’s senior day too, last home game. They’re a good team so it should be a good game.”