It had been six quarters since the last time the Southampton football team found the end zone. Through the first two games of the season, the Mariners had scored twice and both touchdowns came in the first half of the team’s season-opening loss against Bishop McGann-Mercy.
It didn’t take long for the Mariners to strike Saturday against Greenport. On the seventh play of their opening drive, the Mariners scored from a yard out on a quarterback keeper.
Southampton’s bruising running back Aaron Napier Jr. set the tone for not only that drive, but the game. The Porters had few answers for Napier, who rushed for 95 yards and the go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter to lead the Mariners to a 28-14 victory over the Porters at Greenport High School.
Both teams were desperate for a victory after starting the season 0-2, and at halftime with the team’s tied at 14, it appeared to be anyone’s game. But the Mariners gradually wore down the Porters in the second half, and Greenport never could get its offense on track.
Napier’s touchdown with 4:06 left in the third quarter came on a 10-yard run. The drive was set up by the Porters turning the ball over on downs after going for it on fourth-and-16. There appeared to be some confusion on the play.
The Porters ended the first half with an electric play when senior Jordan Fonseca made a leaping grab in the end zone in front of a defender to haul in a 32-yard pass from quarterback Ahkee Anderson, a sophomore. The touchdown came on fourth-and-15 with just over 10 seconds left in the half. The Porters even recovered the ensuing kickoff after the ball deflected off a Southampton player and Greenport recovered.
The momentum at that point appeared to be in Greenport’s favor and the Porters opened the second half with possession. But the Southampton defense bottled up Greenport in the second half, forcing at least four sacks to continually push the Porters backward. Southampton quarterback Shawn Stelling threw a 34-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter that put the Mariners ahead 28-14.
Fonseca, who’s making his way back from a high ankle sprain, had his biggest impact so far this season. He was limited to playing offense, but did run the ball effectively with 82 rushing yards on 17 carries.
Senior fullback Sean Sepnoski chipped in 77 yards on seven carries. He had two big runs of 30+ yards that accounted for most of those yards.
The Porters led 8-7 late in the first quarter. The Porters ran the ball on fourth-and-goal from the 3-yard line and came up just short of the end zone. Southampton was pinned as deep as possible. And on the Mariners’ first possession, the Porters quickly swarmed Stelling and Tyrus Smiley forced a fumble that was recovered by Dante Tramontana in the end zone for a touchdown. A 2-point conversion run by Fonseca put the Porters ahead, their only lead of the game. Southampton tied the game on its next possession.
The Porters return to action next week at home against Center Moriches.
Top photo caption: Greenport senior Jordan Fonseca hauls in a 32-yard touchdown at the end of the second quarter. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)