Christian Nydegger broke into the open field, nothing but grass in front of him. As a senior on the Hampton Bays football team, it was the moment he had been waiting for. He was the first to the Mayor’s Cup, for which the Baymen and Mariners of Southampton battled on Thursday night. Seconds later, Nydegger was joined by his teammates to hoist the massive trophy into the sky, letting out a collective, triumphant roar.
It was well deserved. The Baymen played arguably their most complete game of the season, racking up 30 first-half points and stifling the Mariner offense all night in a 37-6 rout. With it, Hampton Bays won its third straight game in the series and clinched a spot in the Division IV playoffs in the process.
“Making the playoffs means the world to me,” said Baymen senior Tanner Troyan. “I love playing football with these guys and I don’t want to see it end.”
“We’re happy that we came out and played the way we did,” Hampton Bays head coach Jeff Doroski said. “I don’t know if we played a game that well in the first half all year. We had a game plan. We played physical, got the ball in the hands of our playmakers, and good things happened for us.”
With the victory, Doroski figures that the Baymen (4-4 Division IV) will end up with the No. 6 or 7 seed in the draw, which would mean a visit to either John Glenn or Bayport/Blue Point. Meanwhile, it marked the end of the season for Southampton (2-6 Division IV), which turns its sights to 2015, albeit without eight seniors from this year’s group.
“We have a real young, inexperienced team,” said Mariners head coach Bruce Muro. “As we get older, I think we’re going to be a much improved team. The kids have bought in, and once they start playing in their age group, they’ll be all right.”
Southampton failed to launch in the opening quarter, losing fumbles on its first two carries of the game to give the Baymen prime field position. The second of the two resulted in points for Hampton Bays as Josue Monroy went untouched off right tackle for a 3-yard score and an 8-0 lead.
Hampton Bays stayed on the accelerator. On its next possession, Justin Strecker hit tight end Tyler Carbone for a 36-yard gain that cued Jordan Johnson’s first of three touchdowns on the night, a 3-yard plunge. He added a 7-yarder midway through the second, and after the Mariners turned it over on downs, Strecker found Nydegger for a 38-yard reception and Monroy took it in from 7 yards out.
Johnson issued the coup de grace in the fourth, fielding a short punt and knifing through Mariners’ special teams unit en route to a 45-yard touchdown. For the night, Johnson rushed for 137 yards on just 11 carries, and added the long punt return for a score.
“He sees the field very well and he’s able to make people miss,” Doroski said. “You want to get the ball in his hands and in space, and we do a number of things to do that.”
Hampton Bays was equally dominant defensively, holding Southampton without a first down for the first 19 minutes of the game; by that point, the Baymen were up by two scores. The Mariners ended the shutout when Matt Wooley capped a 15-play, 71-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run.
As has been typical in recent years in the rivalry, emotions ran high, with one Southampton player being ejected and words being exchanged between the adversaries throughout.
“I’m real proud of how the guys handled themselves,” Doroski said. “I know there have been some situations in the past, but I think we put our best foot forward here in a number of ways. We’re happy with the outcome.”