The Westhampton Beach football team has all but locked up a Division III playoff berth following its 31-20 victory at Amityville on Saturday. Now, the Hurricanes—who won their third consecutive game last weekend—turn their attention to clinching home-field advantage in the first round of the postseason.
Westhampton Beach can accomplish that goal with a win at Huntington on Saturday afternoon. Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m.
Huntington is coming off consecutive losses, the latest being a 23-7 defeat at Eastport South Manor on Friday night. The Blue Devils, though, always field a competitive team, and Westhampton Beach head coach Bill Parry is well aware of that.
“We have to get healthy. If we can get healthy, I think we’ll be okay,” he said. “[Huntington] is good. They’re going to try and ram it right down our throats. They’re physical.”
The Hurricanes (5-2 Division III, 121.09 power points) showed they could match up well against a physical team this past weekend at Amityville. Though the Warriors are winless through their first seven games this season, they always field an athletic group of players.
Westhampton Beach scored on its opening drive when freshman Dylan Laube punched in the ball from a yard out. After junior Ryan Wagner’s successful point-after attempt, the Canes led 7-0 just a little more than four minutes into the game.
Amityville responded two minutes later when freshman quarterback Jala Coad connected with senior Brenden Paula on a 44-yard pass. Junior Cane Bryce Phillips blocked the extra point to keep his team ahead 7-6.
With 1:12 remaining in the first quarter, Wagner kicked a 30-yard field goal to put Westhampton Beach up 10-6. And that is when the Canes’ defense came alive.
Seniors Patrick Dean and Chris Chomicki jumped on a fumble and recovered it on Amityville’s 22-yard line. A few minutes later, Laube trotted into the end zone from three yards out and, following Wagner’s kick, the Canes led 17-6 heading into the break.
The defense came through again early in the second half. With Amityville driving, senior Cane Juan Restrepo, who has played his way into the starting lineup the past few weeks, intercepted a pass in the end zone. About 30 seconds later, and set up by two long runs by Laube, Westhampton Beach stretched its lead to 24-7 when senior quarterback Henry Moreta completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to Dean with 3:36 remaining in the third.
Midway through fourth quarter, Amityville got back on the board when junior Elijah Duff scored from 18 yards out. Coad scored on the two-point conversion but the Warriors still trailed, 24-14, with 4:43 remaining in the game.
Laube would wrap things up for the Canes on the next drive, however, courtesy of a 57-yard touchdown run. Coad and Paula would connect on a 60-yard touchdown pass and catch with 30 seconds remaining in the game but it was too little, too late for the Warriors.
Parry and his players said following the game that they knew they had to keep their eyes on Paula and senior running back Gary Looney, the latter of whom wound up getting hurt early on and didn’t factor much into the game. Paula burned the Canes’ secondary quite a bit, but the squad was also banged up. Senior Hunter Hulse exited the game with a knee injury and junior Bryce Phillips sprained an ankle.
Parry said the team needs both players back sooner rather than later.
“Hunter and Bryce both went down and, yeah, that hurt us,” he said. “Hopefully, we get them back by next week—otherwise, we’ll be in trouble.”
Laube led the Hurricanes on offense with 144 yards on 15 carries and three touchdowns. He also had four catches for 45 yards. Moreta completed 11 of his 18 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown. Dean also caught four passes for 29 yards.
Restrepo led the defense with six tackles to go with the interception. Phillips and Laube also had interceptions.