The Babylon football team is like pizza—even when it’s bad, it’s good.
On paper, the perennial powerhouse Panthers look more vulnerable than they have in awhile, bumped from their usual perch atop the Division IV standings this season. They came into their game at Hampton Bays on Senior Night this past Friday sporting a modest 3-3 record, sitting in fourth place.
But any hopes the Baymen had of knocking off the defending Long Island champions were snuffed out almost immediately as the Panthers put 22 points on the board in the first half, en route to a 49-14 win over Hampton Bays.
The Baymen (3-4) sat in eighth place in the division with 95.910 power points following the loss, while Babylon (4-3) stayed in fourth with 115.710 points. The top eight teams in the division make the playoffs, and the top four host first-round playoff games.
Hampton Bays will close out the regular season at Southampton (2-5) on Friday at 6 p.m. It’s a must-win game for the Baymen if they want to make the playoffs. If they win, head coach Jeff Doroski said his team could possibly finish in seventh place, which would likely mean a trip to Elwood/John Glenn (6-1) in the first round.
Doroski was not fooled by Babylon’s even record, saying he expected a tough battle against the Panthers. Their three losses were in close battles with some of the top teams in the division, including a 9-7 defeat at the hands of undefeated Shoreham/Wading River.
“They’re still Babylon, regardless of whether or not they have the weapons they’ve had in the past,” he said. “We knew we’d have to play a very good game to beat them.”
Unfortunately, the Baymen did not do that. They turned the ball over four times, with three interceptions and a fumble that was returned for a touchdown early in the game.
“You can’t do those things against a good team like that and expect to be in the ball game,” Doroski said.
“We were able to do some things and move the ball at times,” he continued. “But the turnovers hurt.”
The Baymen avoided a shutout by scoring twice in the fourth quarter, but the game was already out of reach by then as the Panthers were up 43-0 with less than 10 minutes left in the third quarter. Bayman Sean Grismer, who was moved from quarterback to receiver midway through the season, had a nice 68-yard touchdown reception to put his team on the board in the fourth, and Jordan Johnson had the other score for Hampton Bays, an 89-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Hampton Bays quarterback Justin Strecker was 5 for 9 for 102 yards and a touchdown on the night, while Josue Monroy carried the ball 14 times for 42 yards.
Doroski said he was looking forward to the Southampton game, adding that running back/defensive back Travis Flynn would likely make his return to the field for that contest. Flynn has been out for the last two games after being airlifted as a precautionary measure after taking a hit in a game against Center Moriches on October 11.
And while the Mariners haven’t had a very successful season this year, with only two wins, Doroski said he and his players won’t be taking them for granted.
“It’s a big game, a rivalry game,” he said. “I think Southampton is going to come out and be a very tough team to play against. It’s the Mayor’s Cup game, so that’s added motivation, and they also know that if they beat us, they would knock us out of the playoffs.
“I expect it to be a very tough and physical game,” he added.