SUFFOLK DIVISION IV QUALIFYING ROUND | MUSTANGS 20, PORTERS 14
The surprise high school football team in Suffolk County had one more surprise up its sleeve. And while it wasn’t enough for Greenport/Southold/Mattituck to pull off an upset, the Porters came awfully close.
The seventh-seeded Porters, one year removed from an 0-8 season, put a scare into No. 2 Mount Sinai on Friday night. It wasn’t until an 11-yard run for a first down by Mike Cortese with a little over a minute remaining in the game that the Mustangs could breath easy. They had survived the Suffolk County Division IV qualifying round game with a 20-14 result in their favor, but Mount Sinai coach Vinnie Ammirato later acknowledged that he felt as if his team had dodged a bullet.
Mount Sinai (7-2) kept alive its bid to reach a seventh county final. The Porters finished the year with a 6-3 record, the first time they have won six games in a season since 1970, according to coach Jack Martilotta.
Cortese ran for three second-half touchdowns and 208 yards to the delight of the home crowd at Mount Sinai High School. His third touchdown — in which he broke free up the middle for 54 yards — made the score 20-7 with 4 minutes 55 seconds left in the game.
On the next series, the Porters were facing a fourth-and-seven at their own 39-yard line when a pass for no gain appeared to turn the ball over on downs. But an official’s inadvertent whistle prompted the down to be replayed. Given another chance, the Porters made the most of it. Matt Drinkwater floated a pass down the right sideline for Connor Malone, who laid out for a spectacular diving catch. The 36-yard gain set up Drinkwater’s 13-yard touchdown pass to Gene Allen with 3:16 to go.
Mount Sinai fielded Drinkwater’s bloop kickoff and ran out the final minutes for the win.
Because the Porters’ final regular-season game was forfeited by Hampton Bays, they didn’t have a regular Senior Night. So, they took Senior Night on the road, with the help of Mount Sinai. Prior to the playoff game, the Porters’ 14 senior players and four senior cheerleaders were recognized in a ceremony.
Ammirato was also honored before the game. He was presented with a football and a mini-statue of a mustang to mark his 100th career win a week earlier against Elwood/John Glenn.
But Ammirato’s 101st career win wasn’t one he was particularly pleased with. The 15-year coach said the only area in which Mount Sinai had the advantage over the Porters was in points.
The Porters played on the same Mount Sinai field that they did in 2010, the last time they reached the playoffs. They were pounded, 41-19, that night by a stronger Mustangs team. This time around, though, the playing field was more level.
The Porters held a 7-0 lead by halftime thanks to Frank Sierra’s 11th touchdown of the season. Sierra (23 carries, 82 yards) raced around the left side for 18 yards to cap the Porters’ first series of the game.
Mount Sinai looked more determined after halftime. Its first three drives in the second half ended with Cortese touchdowns.
Drinkwater went 8 of 17 passing for 102 yards.
Joe Vella made a game-high 10 tackles and Matt Mavrovich made 8 (6 solo) for Mount Sinai.
The Porters were led defensively by Malone, with 9 tackles (6 solo). Drinkwater and Sal Loverde made 8 each.