After a 42-14 victory at Harborfields to finish off its first undefeated regular season since 1932, players on the Westhampton Beach football team grabbed a bucket of water and went to douse longtime head coach Bill Parry.As if he had eyes in the back of his head, Parry quickly turned around and stopped his players just before they were able to drench him. He made a deal with them right then and there: win the Suffolk County Division III Championship and he’ll gladly take a soaking.
Parry got wet on Saturday.
The Hurricanes defeated Half Hollow Hills West, 28-14, at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium at Stony Brook University on Saturday afternoon to win their first ever Division III Championship, and first title since 1989 when they played in Division IV.
Westhampton Beach will go for a perfect 12-0 season when it plays Lawrence (10-1) in the Long Island Division III Championship back at Stony Brook University on Sunday, November 26, at noon. Lawrence defeated Wantagh, 21-10, to win the Nassau County Conference III Championship, which was also played on Saturday.
“I took it gladly,” Parry said of getting an ice bucket poured on him after Saturday’s win, “and I’ll take it gladly next week too.
“Our kids, every single year, they work really, really hard [and] it’s paying off,” he added. “It’s finally come to fruition and I’m really happy about that. I can not tell you how much these kids play together, play for each other and play for us. Win or lose, you can’t ask for anything more than that.”
Westhampton Beach senior Dylan Laube (185 yards, 29 carries) scored all four touchdowns for the Hurricanes on Saturday. An interception by sophomore Jaden Alfano-St.John on 3rd and 13 at the Hurricanes’ 45 set up Laube’s first score of the game. He struck 6:38 into the game when he punched the ball in from three yards out off a direct snap. Hills West junior running back Devvon Wright came right back on the ensuing drive and ran the ball 64 yards to tie the game, but Laube and the Canes used a little bit of trickery to regain the lead in the second quarter.
Westhampton Beach was facing a 4th and 19 but Hills West was called for too many players on the field to make it a much more manageable 4th and 4 for the Canes, who lined up to punt, but snapped the ball to Laube. He not only got the first down, but Hills West was called for a personal foul when Laube was slammed to the ground out of bounds, setting up Westhampton Beach on the Hills West 18-yard line.
A few minutes later, on 4th and goal from the Hills West 2, Laube scampered around the left sideline, took on multiple Colt defenders and managed to find the end zone to give the Canes a 13-7 lead with 6:45 remaining in the first half.
Hills West drove down the field on the ensuing drive and found itself deep in Westhampton Beach territory after junior quarterback Gerald Filardi Jr. scrambled 28 yards to the Canes’ 3-yard line. The Colts tried throwing the ball into the end zone on three separate tries but couldn’t complete a pass, the last of which was defended by Laube. With just six seconds remaining in the half, the Colts attempted a 20-yard field goal but missed wide right to allow Westhampton Beach to cling to its six-point lead at the half.
Hills West opened the second half with a 17-play, 67-yard drive that ate up 8:38 of the clock, but on 4th and 8, the Colts opted to go for a 33-yard field goal, which went wide left, and the Canes took over. On the ensuing drive, Laube ran the ball 71 yards for one of his signature long runs, but, it was called back for holding. On the very next play, Laube, working in the wildcat formation, lobbed a pass up for sophomore Aidan Cumisky who made a nice catch with two Colt defenders on him giving the Canes a first down.
That eventually led to Laube’s third touchdown of the game, a 24-yard run 38 seconds into the fourth quarter. Laube tacked on the two-point conversion to make it 21-7, but on the very next play of the Colts’ drive, Filardi connected with sophomore Justin Brown on a 70-yard touchdown pass to bring it back to within a one-score game.
Hills West then stripped Westhampton Beach junior running back Tyler Nolan of the ball at midfield on the next drive and recovered the fumble at the Canes’ 45. With 5:42 remaining in the game, Hills West faced a 4th and 1 deep in Westhampton Beach territory, but the Canes bottled up Filardi Jr., who tried sneaking the ball up the middle, and took over on downs, making arguably one of the biggest defensive stands in program history.
Kurt Mion said after the game that the defense felt Filardi Jr. was going to try and go up the middle since he did a few times on 3rd- and 4th-and short situations in the first half and was successful at it. This time, Mion and fellow senior Charles Fee lined up on the center of Hills West and made sure Filardi Jr. didn’t have anywhere to go.
“It’s all about heart and digging deep at that point,” said Westhampton Beach junior starting linebacker Liam McIntyre, who was also in on the play. “We dig deep, play with heart and work our butts off to get the stop.”
After taking over on downs, Laube eventually scored from six yards out, and after Fee’s extra point, his third of the day, Westhampton Beach held a commanding 28-14 lead. Hills West once again drove down the field late in the fourth hoping to score, then recover an onside kick to try and tie the game, but Westhampton Beach senior Nolan Quinlan intercepted a pass in the end zone with 9 seconds remaining to put the finishing touches on the Canes’ first county championship in 28 years.
Laube always grabs the headlines for his scoring prowess, but the University of New Hampshire-bound senior said it was a complete team victory.
“Our whole team collectively won this game, it wasn’t just one person,” he said. “Our whole team ran the ball well, with Liam, Tyler Nolan, Clarke [Lewis], everyone just played an outstanding game, in which we just kept driving and finally I punched it in.”
For a lot of players, especially seniors who have been on the varsity for four years now, winning the county title dignifies all of the hard work they have put in throughout the year.
“It’s just an out-of-this-world experience,” Mion said of the victory. “We’ve had so many great players, so many great running backs, so many great linemen. We’ve been pushing hard, setting record after record after record … I’m just without words, it’s amazing.”
After the game, McIntyre spoke of the first play of this season when he broke his hand, which forced him to miss a few games. At halftime of that season opener, Bellport held a nine-point lead—the last time the undefeated Canes have trailed in a game—and McIntyre, as he was leaving the field to go to the hospital to get x-rays taken of his hand, took a video of the scoreboard with his phone and saved it.
“I took a video of the scoreboard and in it I said to the team, ‘This isn’t how it’s supposed to be. I promise you now we’ll be at Stony Brook, and when we get there, I will show you this video,’” he explained. “The other night, after we won against West Babylon, I sent the video in a group chat to everyone, and everyone just said, ‘wow.’”