Victory was at hand.
Or so it seemed.
Perhaps the high school football gods are toying with the Greenport/Southold/Mattituck Porters, teasing them. Because for a little over a half of Friday night’s Suffolk County Division IV game, it looked as if Greenport was on the way to its first win in two years.
Greenport seemed to have found its passing game and was moving the ball. The Porters’ defense was looking good. Finally, it seemed, fate was smiling on the Porters.
And then that smile turned into a frown.
Before the Porters could do a victory dance, it all came tumbling apart. It wasn’t that they choked. It was more like they cramped up.
A series of leg cramps put a crimp in Greenport’s plans. Some of Greenport’s best players — Ahkee Anderson, Tyrus Smiley, Brandon Clark, Jude Swann — struggled with cramping issues and that took a toll. The Porters, who for the most part had played well enough to win, succumbed to Center Moriches, 27-18, at Dorrie Jackson Memorial Field in Greenport. It was Greenport’s 10th consecutive loss, an unenviable string that began with last year’s season opener.
Losing isn’t an easy habit to break.
Greenport (0-2) blew leads of 12-0 and 18-7 as Brett Fuhrmann and Brad Sakellarides turned in touchdown runs within 2 minutes and 34 seconds of each other in the third quarter to swing the game in Center Moriches’ favor. (In between those TDs was a fumble, caused by Center Moriches’ Robert Waller and recovered by teammate John Donohue). Following Sakellarides’ 10-yard scoring run, Hunter Hassett hit David Carroll for a two-point pass, making it 21-18.
Fuhrmann’s second TD run of the game, an 11-yarder that capped a 10-play, 69-yard drive, sealed things with 2:39 left to play.
The Porters must have been stunned by the turn of events that had seen a game going so well for them suddenly swing against them with no warning.
Before he was hit with a right calf muscle tightening up midway through the third quarter, Anderson was having a splendid game. The Greenport quarterback/defensive back shook off defenders on the way to a 43-yard dash to the end zone in the first quarter. In the second quarter, the junior intercepted a pass and returned the ball 36 yards. On the next play, he dropped a pass into the arms of Smiley, who had separated himself from the secondary, for a 39-yard TD pass, making it 12-0.
Before the first half ended, though, Carroll carried the ball on a reverse, untouched, around the left side for Center Moriches’ first points with 1:16 to go.
Anderson’s passing and rushing yard totals were virtually identical. He passed 5-for-12 for 125 yards — all of those yards coming in the first half — and ran 24 times for 124 yards. He threw one interception and lost one fumble.
Greenport had stretched its lead to 18-7 with 4:37 remaining in the third quarter thanks to a 12-play, 62-yard drive. The last four of those yards came on a Smiley run. After heading left, Smiley found no openings, reversed field and had nothing but Greenport blockers and daylight in front of him.
Hassett, who split time at quarterback with Emond Frazier for Center Moriches (1-1), went 6-for-12 for 108 yards and an interception. Carroll caught four passes for 87 yards. The Red Devils also received 82 yards on eight carries by Frazier.
Photo caption: Greenport/Southold/Mattituck quarterback Ahkee Anderson passed 5-for-12 for 125 yards, with one touchdown and one interception against Center Moriches. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)