The Port Jefferson offense is about as simple and straightforward as it gets. It’s also something else: remarkably effective.
Nothing fancy. No need for trickery — or much passing — here. The Royals, with their shotgun wing-T offense, gave a convincing demonstration that just because a defense may have a pretty good idea of what is coming from the offense, it doesn’t mean the defense can stop it.
For the most part on Friday night, Port Jefferson ran the football straight up the middle, often with quarterback sneaks and direct snaps to running backs, and still Greenport/Southold/Mattituck couldn’t stop it. Port Jefferson ball carriers slipped through tacklers’ arms, carried defenders on their backs and churned their legs to move piles forward in a 22-0 defeat of the Porters at Coach Dorrie Jackson Memorial Field.
The third straight loss for the Porters (3-4 in Suffolk County Division IV) was a hard blow to their playoff chances. Because of the complexity of the power-rating system, even a win by the Porters over Bishop McGann-Mercy in their final regular-season game next Friday night may not be enough to push them into the playoffs.
Port Jefferson (4-3) wore down the Porters and put a damper on Greenport’s homecoming crowd by its ability to run the ball into the line behind a wedge of blockers and pick up nice yardage. The Royals put the ball in the air only twice from their 56 offensive plays. They didn’t even need to do that. Their ground game brought them 330 yards, with five ball carriers totaling an average of 6.1 yards per carry.
Quarterback Nicholas Caltagirone ran for 103 yards, running back Shane Bruce picked up 95 and fullback Garret Hiz had 84 yards and two touchdowns.
Hiz also spotted Port Jefferson a 2-0 lead in the first quarter when he tackled Tristin Ireland in the end zone for a safety.
The score remained that way until 67 seconds were left in the first half and Hiz plunged across the goal line for his first touchdown.
During the first series of the third quarter, Port Jefferson threw its first pass, with Jack Collins hitting Hiz for a 23-yard connection. That set up Michael Dicalogero’s 5-yard run for a score. He also ran in the 2-point conversion, making it 16-0.
On the second play of Port Jefferson’s next possession, Hiz broke free up the middle and kept going until he reached the end zone 55 yards later.
What had to be distressing for the Porters were their struggles to move the ball on offense. The Porters, coming off back-to-back 40-0 losses to Hampton Bays and Bayport-Blue Point, finished with only three first downs (to 16 by Port Jefferson) and a measly 82 yards from only 31 offensive plays.
The Porters’ quarterback, Dylan Marlborough, was pressured all night and didn’t have much time to throw the ball.
It was the second straight shutout for Port Jefferson’s defense, which forced three turnovers. The Royals trounced Southampton/Ross, 54-0, in their previous game.
Keegan Syron was involved in 14 tackles and Dominick Panetta had a hand in 12 for the Porters.
Photo: Tristin Ireland returning a kickoff for Greenport/Southold/Mattituck on Friday night against Port Jefferson. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)