Unfocused and undisciplined play typically spells a loss for any Division III football team.
Not for Westhampton Beach.
The Hurricanes had what their head coach Bill Parry called a “sloppy” game, but they won, 35-20, at Rocky Point on Friday night to improve to 5-0 and remain atop the Division III standings with 146 power points.
The Eagles were ranked fifth in the preseason, which is more than good enough to earn a playoff spot, since the top eight teams in each division qualify, but Westhampton Beach was able to overcome turnovers and 13 penalties to win a game it led from start to finish. Senior Dylan Laube scored all five touchdowns for the Canes—four on the ground, one through the air—finishing with 159 rushing yards on 25 carries and two catches for 53 yards.
But it was senior Nolan Quinlan who had a breakout game. He had three interceptions—Parry can’t remember if any one single player has ever had that many in a single game in his 20-year coaching career—two of them setting up touchdowns for Laube, and each one halted long drives by Rocky Point. He also caught a 24-yard pass that set up another Laube score.
Parry said it can be tough to keep a team focused when it has been blowing teams out on a consistent basis. The Canes have beaten opponents by an average of 15 points per game, but Parry said there were a number of factors that he wouldn’t divulge as to why the team was uncharacteristically off.
“The whole day was kind of screwed up,” he said. “We usually get one of those games a year. The kids always play hard, though. They always come to play.”
Liam McIntyre made a return for Westhampton Beach, albeit with a club on his left hand protecting his broken thumb he suffered in the season opener. Parry said McIntyre still has to figure out how to run with the ball with the club, but other than that, he looked good on both sides of the ball as fullback and linebacker. He finished with 3½ sacks.
“He’s fresh. At least his legs are, so we’re going to need him,” Parry said.
The Canes will host Comsewogue on Friday night and Sayville the following week; both have kickoff times of 6 p.m. Comsewogue is in the bottom of the standings currently but always plays the Canes tough. And although Sayville isn’t the powerhouse it has been in recent years, it’s still 4-1 and right behind Westhampton Beach in the standings.
The Canes will have to be on their game if they want home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, which could get off track with an upset loss to Comsewogue this week.
“The bottom line is nobody in the division is an easy game,” Parry said. “We’ll just continue to take things one week at a time, get through Comsewogue healthy and with a win, and then we’ll go from there.”