Westhampton Beach had a lot of pent-up frustration entering Friday night’s football match against Rocky Point.
The game, which was the highlight of last weekend’s homecoming festivities, came on the heels of two rough losses to Sayville and Amityville, and the Hurricanes took out their frustration on the visiting Eagles, smashing their way to a 47-7 victory.
Westhampton Beach was stunned by Harborfields during last year’s homecoming game, and senior Evan Gagne said that memory, combined with the fresher memories of the first two losses of this season, only fueled their desire to walk away with a win on Friday.
“That just made us want to destroy whatever team we played at homecoming this season,” he said. “It feels great to get our first win.
“Obviously, we didn’t come out this season the best we wanted to, but we knew it was homecoming and that we had to step up,” he continued. “The whole team played great and we came out with the W.”
The Hurricanes came out firing on all cylinders and kept their foot on the gas pedal for four quarters. Gagne brought the opening kickoff to midfield and that play set up a 23-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Stephen Tagliavia to senior receiver Zach Rignola, and the Hurricanes were on the board.
Just 10 seconds later, Tim Hoare, another senior for the Hurricanes, tipped what was supposed to be a screen pass, intercepted it and took it 18 yards for another touchdown. After senior Max Pastor’s second extra point of the game, the Canes led 14-0 with just 121 seconds ticked off the game clock.
“We knew that they could throw the ball and run the ball, but we just had to stick to our game plan and have no mental errors, play smart defense, gang tackle, and play as a team,” Rignola said.
Gagne added two more scores in the first quarter and Pastor contributed with a 25-yard field goal to put Westhampton Beach up 31-0 after only 12 minutes of action. The Hurricanes, despite losing their first two games of the campaign, are familiar with solid starts; they led both Sayville and Amityville after the first quarter of those games only to lose them. So, keeping the pressure on Rocky Point was going to be important, and the Hurricanes made sure they slammed the door on the Eagles.
Westhampton Beach junior Patrick Dean got in on the scoring with a 4-yard run in the second quarter and, in the third quarter, added a 38-yard touchdown run to give the Canes a 45-0 lead. A botched play by Rocky Point in its own end zone wound up as a safety for Westhampton Beach, increasing the score to 47-0. The Eagles scored with 25 seconds remaining in the game to avoid the shutout.
Westhampton Beach head coach Bill Parry said his players wouldn’t let up and allow Rocky Point back into the game.
“We said, ‘Listen, you haven’t finished the fourth quarter yet. Let’s finish.’ And they really did,” he said. “They played hard and we got everyone playing. We even got the kids who don’t get a lot of time some time and they really played hard. We gave up a touchdown, but it took them 15 plays or whatever it was, so we’re real pleased with that.”
The Canes ran the ball 42 times for 251 yards and gained 488 yards of total offense while holding Rocky Point to just 188 yards. Dean led the way with 76 yards on seven carries, followed closely by Gagne who carried the rock eight times for 63 yards. On the receiving end, Rignola finished with four catches for 74 yards while Gagne caught three passes for 56 yards.
Tagliavia was 7 of 9 passing for 130 yards and two touchdowns. Junior Kyle Rignola had an interception on defense.
“We’ve been on them real hard all week to play physical,” Parry said. “It hasn’t been a traditional physical team for us that we’ve been in the past, but they really showed up and they were very, very physical. We were physical on defense, we were physical on offense and we really pounded the ball, which we haven’t really done.
“We have to clean up the mistakes we made later on in the second half, but that’s from lack of concentration because the game was over,” he continued.
Westhampton Beach (1-2 Division III, 90.19 power points) will now turn its attention to Comsewogue. The Warriors, who will be coming to town this Friday for a 6 p.m. game, are also 1-2 (100.20 power points) but possess one of the best running backs in Suffolk County in Adi Nelson. He was scouted by the University of Notre Dame earlier this season.
“We’re going to keep hammering the physicality part because next week’s team is very physical,” Parry said. “We’ll go to film, fix the mistakes and we’ll see what we can do.”