08/22/13 5:00pm
08/22/2013 5:00 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island quarterback Jared Schenone, who did not play last season because of a wrist injury, is recovering from a ruptured appendix.

After what he has gone through, Jared Schenone’s toughness as a football player should be beyond question. How many players, after all, have trained despite having a ruptured appendix?

That is what Schenone did earlier this summer, not that he knew it at the time, of course.

Schenone, a senior quarterback for Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island, was with his teammates last month at a team camp at Stony Brook University when he felt what he described as really bad stomach pains. He was taken to a nearby emergency room, but there was no determination of what was the cause of the pain.

Schenone returned to training and preparing for the upcoming season when, two weeks later, he was rushed to another emergency room and told that his appendix had ruptured two weeks earlier.

“It was really bad,” he said.

This was serious business. A ruptured appendix can be fatal, so Schenone is fortunate in that sense. “If it ruptures, they say it could become toxic in your body,” he said. “After three days you could die.”

Schenone had the appendix removed and is now able to show the scars by his abdomen to go with the unusual tale.

But Schenone has been unfortunate in another sense. He did not play a single snap last season because of an injury to his right wrist, above his throwing hand, just a couple of days before the start of the season.

“It’s hard not to feel for Jared after missing a season and now to have this happen to him,” said Porters coach Jack Martilotta.

Two years ago, Schenone started a couple of varsity games in addition to playing junior varsity games, and he is itching to return to the playing field. Schenone was looking forward to this season and he trained hard in the off-season.

Connor Andersen, a senior who plays guard and middle linebacker, said the appendix scare was “shocking.” He said Schenone has been working as hard as any of the Porters to prepare for the new season. “He’s been dying for the past two years to play,” said Anderson.

So, instead of participating in drills on Tuesday morning, Schenone, wearing a black windbreaker, black shorts and a white cap, watched from the sideline of the practice field as his teammates toiled. Toward the end of the practice, with hardly any foot movement, he tossed a couple of footballs with perfect spirals.

For Schenone, football has become a waiting game. He is awaiting medical clearance to become an active participant in practices, something he hopes will happen soon.

“I missed all of a last season and now I’m going to miss some practices,” he said. “Hopefully in a couple of weeks I’ll be ready, but I feel good.”

Asked if he thinks he will be ready to play in the season-opening game against Wyandanch on Sept. 12, Schenone replied: “I’ll see. I hope so. It’s up to the doctors. I feel ready, but it’s their decision.”

Attending practices and watching them hasn’t been easy, he said. While the appendix was painful, he said, “it was more of a mental thing that was hurting me, not being able to play football for a while.”

He continued: “It’s the worst feeling ever. I worked so hard every day in the weight room, and now this.”

The Porters have other options at quarterback. Gene Allen (23 for 36, 233 yards, 3 touchdowns, 2 interceptions) and junior Matt Drinkwater (21 for 68, 278 yards, 2 touchdowns, 6 interceptions) threw all but two of the team’s passes last season. “They can step in, to be sure,” said Martilotta.

Especially in light of what Schenone has been through, coaches and teammates are pulling for him.

“He’s definitely an athlete, and we’re looking forward to using him as much as we can,” Martilotta said. “No one’s worked harder than him in the off-season. He’s in the weight room every day, hours at a time. He’s transformed himself. I’m hoping it works out for him. I think it’s got to. He’s put in so much time, it’s got to work out for him.”

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08/20/13 2:34pm
08/20/2013 2:34 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Gene Allen said coming off an 0-8 season has given the Porters more motivation for the coming campaign.

Perhaps nothing fosters team bonding better than going away to camp like the Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island high school football team did last month.

For three days, the Porters got away from distractions and focused on football at a team camp at Stony Brook University. They roomed together, practiced three times a day, scrimmaged against Amityville and Syosset, and clicked the fast forward button on their development.

“It was one of the best experiences of my football career,” said Gene Allen, a versatile senior who plays cornerback, rover, wide receiver and quarterback.

It still may be premature to say just how much of a benefit the camp was, but the Porters claim they are already seeing positive results from it. If there was one drawback to camp life, it was the heat they had to deal with on the roasting field turf at Stony Brook’s Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.

“It got up to 120” degrees, said Connor Andersen, a senior guard/middle linebacker. “Some kids’ cleats were melting.”

By comparison, the two-a-day preseason practices that the Porters started on Monday at Greenport High School are no problem.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Assistant coach Chris Robinson working with Willie Riggins while assistant coach Mike Miller watches in the background.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Assistant coach Chris Robinson working with Willie Riggins while assistant coach Mike Miller watches in the background.

“It was a great experience,” coach Jack Martilotta said of the camp. “The heat was a little much. We had a couple of shoes start melting apart. All the kids who went to the camp, they’re breezing through this. A lot of kids spent a lot of time in the off-season making sure they were in shape, and I think it’s showing right now.”

Off-season training, fueled in part by the determination to turn things around after an 0-8 season last year, can work wonders. The 2012 season was hardly kind to the Porters. A double-overtime, season-ending loss to Southampton put an end to their pain. It was the 13th consecutive loss for the Porters, who dropped three games last year by a total of 18 points.

“It was rough because no one expects going into a season and being 0 and 8,” Allen said. “That just killed me, and now it’s just extra motivation.”

Andersen said motivation is the only thing he takes away from last season. “Hopefully that motivation will turn into wins,” he said. “We’ve been looking phenomenal. The Stony Brook camp helped a lot. We’re running plays really smooth, and we’re all close as a family and as a team.”

All the way around, the Porters appear to be in a better situation than they were a year ago. As the No. 13 seed among the 14 teams in Suffolk County Division IV, they have a more forgiving schedule. They lost five players to graduation, but have more than a dozen seniors this year.

“They play like seniors,” Martilotta said. “They’re young men and they lead, and young kids look up to it.”

An example of that leadership was seen near the end of Tuesday morning’s practice when a number of varsity players ran alongside a junior varsity player, Chris Schwamborn, and encouraged him as he completed a conditioning run.

In addition to returning veterans like Allen, Andersen, running back Frank Sierra and lineman Cody Fisher, the Porters have a transfer from Bishop McGann-Mercy, senior lineman Owen Finnegan, who should help. The Porters didn’t have a junior varsity team last season and barely had enough players to field a JV team two years ago, but numbers are up, and Martilotta said there will be a JV team this year.

Jared Schenone, a senior quarterback, has been a bystander during these first practices. He had an emergency appendectomy two weeks ago after having been told that his appendix had burst without him knowing it two weeks earlier while he was at the Stony Brook camp. Schenone, who sat out the entire 2012 season with a wrist injury, is awaiting medical clearance to practice. In the meantime, the Porters still have Allen and Matt Drinkwater, who threw most of the team’s passes last season.

But what is past is past. The Porters are looking forward to better days ahead.

“We are a different team this year, I’ll tell you that, a hundred percent different team,” Allen said. “We have a bigger line. Everyone’s bigger … faster, stronger.”

If the Porters produce a season worth remembering, they may want to trace its beginnings to the camp in Stony Brook.

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06/08/13 11:00am
06/08/2013 11:00 AM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Frank Sierra was the leading rusher for the Porters last season with 540 yards from 155 carries.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Frank Sierra was the leading rusher for the Porters last season with 540 yards from 155 carries.

The Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island football team has had enough of losing. Losing is something the Porters have known only too well over the past two years, and now they’re doing something about it.

A winless 2012 season that ended with a 26-20 double-overtime defeat to Southampton did not sit well with the Porters, who have lost 13 straight games dating back to 2011. Many of them, like Frank Sierra, have resolved to do all they can to see that next season brings the Porters some wins.

“It’s just something I never want to feel again,” said Sierra, who led the Porters with 540 rushing yards from 155 carries last year. “It was a horrible feeling.”

Borne from all those losses was a spirit of determination and motivation. A stronger Sierra said that ever since the football season ended, he has worked out in the weight room five days a week and ran on weekends with teammate Jared Schenone.

“Everyone’s determined,” said Gene Allen, who ran for three touchdowns, passed for three touchdowns and caught a touchdown pass in 2012. “We’re focused on working hard. We know what we have to do to win games.”

Players say they have noticed a changed attitude during the team’s weeklong mini-camp that concluded on Friday at Mattituck High School.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Connor Andersen, who made 19 tackles last season, working on his agility Friday, the final day of the weeklong mini-camp.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Connor Andersen, who made 19 tackles last season, working on his agility Friday, the final day of the weeklong mini-camp.

“Everyone’s hungry for some wins,” said Connor Andersen, who plays fullback and middle linebacker. “We have people pushing each other.”

Last year’s 0-8 record was something the Porters did not expect. Coming off a 1-7 season and a brutal schedule the year before, the Porters thought 2012 would be kinder to them. They were in for a rude surprise.

“I was shocked,” said Andersen.

Allen said: “Honestly, I thought we were going to win a handful of games. I thought we were going to go to the playoffs.”

The bulk of the team will return in August. In fact, the Porters have said goodbye to nine seniors over the past two years, and coach Jack Martilotta is expecting to have about 15 seniors on his roster in the fall.

That, along with a more forgiving schedule, provides the Porters with cause for optimism.

“We’ve got high hopes,” Martilotta said. “Last year, even though we didn’t win, we had a lot of close games — heartbreakingly close games — and we feel that this year it should tip in our favor.”

Martilotta said 55 players attended the mini-camp. One of the benefits of the mini-camp is that it gives players an idea of what to expect when preseason practice starts on Aug. 19. Before then, though, the Porters plan to attend a team camp at Stony Brook University in mid-July.

“They’re very motivated,” Martilotta said. “They really are. It shows the character of these young men.”

Among the players who participated in the mini-camp was Schenone, who sat out last season because of problems with his wrists, but is said to be looking forward to his senior season as the leading quarterback candidate. Schenone was brought up to the varsity team as a freshman three years ago along with Allen, Andersen and Sierra. They all witnessed firsthand what playoff football is about, and they would like to experience it again this coming fall as seniors.

“This year, it’s like, everyone is always talking about football 24/7,” Sierra said. “We’re always talking about what we can do to improve. This is our last year. We want to go out with a bang.”

Allen was already looking forward to the team’s season-opening game, which will be at home on Sept. 12 against Wyandanch.

“We’re going to be ready,” he said. “We know what it felt like to lose. Now we just want to win.”

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10/27/12 6:32pm
10/27/2012 6:32 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island’s Billy McAllister looking for running room around Southampton’s Lyle Smith.

MARINERS 26, PORTERS 20 (2 OT)

Lyle Smith loves playing football so much that his coach joked that Smith saw to it that the final game of the season for both the Southampton and Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island football teams on Saturday went to overtime.

Overtime would have been unnecessary had the Southampton junior held on to a pass in the end zone in the fourth quarter with the score tied at 13-13.

“That’s why he dropped that pass,” Southampton coach Edgar Franklin said. “I just think he wanted the game to go a little longer. He didn’t want it to end, he was having such a good time.”

The drop, which Smith said was his only one of the season, might have been the only thing that Smith didn’t do right. Regardless, it didn’t hurt Southampton in the long run. Alex Halaka scored on a 10-yard run around the left side in the second round of overtime, lifting the Mariners to a 26-20 victory and closing the door on a winless season for Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island.

Southampton, which didn’t post a win last season, finished the season with a 3-5 record in Suffolk County Division IV. The Mariners saw their playoff chances dashed before they took the field, but that didn’t seem to deter their desire.

“Sometimes it isn’t always about making the playoffs,” Franklin said. “It’s about bouncing back from defeat, and that’s how life is sometimes. You got to bounce back when you get knocked down. These guys responded this week. They came out and they said they wanted to go out the right way.”

Halaka’s game-winning run followed a fumble by Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island that was forced by Nitauke Williams and recovered by Danny Claud.

Both teams scored touchdowns in the first overtime of the rare afternoon game at Greenport High School’s Dorrie Jackson Memorial Field. Southampton snapped a 13-13 tie when Williams broke free and caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Taylor Sanders (9 of 15, 131 yards). Then Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island (0-8) responded with Tyshe Williams banging into the end zone for a four-yard touchdown burst.

The loss was the 13th in a row for the Porters, who dropped three of their games this year by a total of 18 points.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island’s Jack Volinski (No. 4) and Christian Angelson (No. 3) positioned themselves for this pass which a Southampton player tipped before Timmy Stevens caught it for a Porters touchdown.

“We really wanted the kids to be able to get one today,” Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island coach Jack Martilotta said. “Last year games weren’t that close. This year they’re heartbreakingly close.”

It looked as if the football gods might finally smile on the Porters when Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island’s Connor Anderson retrieved the short game-opening kick that teammate John Drinkwater lofted high in the air. That set up a one-yard quarterback sneak for a touchdown by Matt Drinkwater.

But Smith, the undoubted player of the game, was on Southampton’s side. By the game’s end, his dirty No. 27 uniform told the tale of how busy he was. The 5-foot-10, 195-pound Smith, a former offensive tackle, played running back and middle linebacker. He ran for touchdowns on two successive second-quarter touches, the second of which was an 85-yarder in which a block by Isaiah Johnson opened a clearing for him up the middle. Smith ended up with 141 rushing yards from 14 carries and made a 24-yard reception. If that wasn’t enough, he had a monster of a game on defense, and was involved in a game-high 22 tackles.

The Porters tied the score at 13-13 with 10 seconds left in the first half. Eugene Allen, who alternated at quarterback with Matt Drinkwater, scrambled before floating a 10-yard pass up for grabs into the end zone. A Southampton player got his hands on the ball while Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island’s Jack Volinski and Christian Angelson contested him for it. The ball trickled down — and into Timmy Stevens’ waiting hands for a touchdown.

Even without running back Frank Sierra, who sat out the game with a knee injury, the Porters still picked up 240 yards on the ground. That was thanks in no small measure to a pair of sophomores, Williams (25 carries, 125 yards) and Billy McAllister (14 carries, 72 yards).

Yet, it was a sad ending for the Porters and their five seniors, who wore their team’s uniform for the last time: Christian Davis, Chris Manwaring, Marc Proferes, Eddie Wright and Richie Wysocki.

“We almost had it,” lineman Codey Fisher said. “It was close.”

Martilotta said: “We’re an 0 and 8 team, and the kids are fighting, clawing and scratching to literally the last second of the last play of the season. We’re very lucky. I’ve been saying all year, we have a great group of kids.”

On the other side of the field, Franklin and his players were ecstatic, posing for a happy team photo.

“Words can’t even express the way I feel right now,” Franklin said. “… I can see no better ending to their season than a double-overtime win with a senior scoring the winning touchdown. It couldn’t have ended better for them.”

Overtime is pressure-packed and intense, but Smith didn’t seem to mind. And why should he? After all, it meant more football.

“It was exciting,” he said. “Most people get nervous, but I was excited. I couldn’t wait to play. I like playing football, so the more football the better. Anything to keep the game going.”

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10/19/12 11:31pm
10/19/2012 11:31 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Eugene Allen of Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island using his legs to pick up yards with Center Moriches’ Timothy Anthony in pursuit.

RED DEVILS 21, PORTERS 14

When the game started, Center Moriches was the only football team that was lower than Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island in the Suffolk County Division IV standings. But after the two winless teams played on Friday night, it was hard to imagine anyone feeling lower than the Porters.

In the matchup between two 0-6 teams, one team had to win, and that team was Center Moriches. Tyrell Thomas threw two touchdown passes in addition to running for another touchdown and a two-point conversion as Center Moriches secured a 21-14 victory at Greenport High School’s Dorrie Jackson Memorial Field. It was the 12th straight loss for the Porters, and possibly the toughest of them all.

“It’s an awful feeling,” Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island’s doleful coach, Jack Martilotta, said. “I’m sure the kids feel awful. It’s hard. Losing is hard.”

Nobody has to tell Center Moriches that. The Red Devils can relate to Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island’s woes. They also had their hearts set on putting a marker in the “W” column.

Center Moriches, which was a playoff team the last three years, underwent a major overhaul, returning only two players from last year’s squad. The Red Devils have more juniors and sophomores (16) than seniors (six), but that didn’t keep them from rising to the occasion on Friday night.

“Emotionally, it’s been really tough going week after week and losing close games because we never really got blown out, and to finally taste a victory, it’s just unreal,” Center Moriches inside linebacker Ryan Lewis said. “First one of the year. It feels great. We didn’t even know what to do because we just won. We never celebrated before so we were like in shock.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island’s Sal Loverde leaping up to make a 26-yard reception while being watched by Center Moriches’ Mekhai Godley, left, and Bryan Foster.

Thomas (15 of 23, 227 yards), a sophomore quarterback/safety, knew what to do during the game. He scored on a six-yard run in between scoring tosses of 64 yards to Zachary Brady and 25 yards to Michael Speed. The pass to Speed on the first play of the fourth quarter gave Center Moriches a 21-7 lead.

The Porters pulled themselves back in the game when Eugene Allen found John Drinkwater in the corner of the end zone with a five-yard pass on fourth down, capping a 13-play, 70-yard scoring drive with 6 minutes 52 seconds to go in the contest. It was Allen’s second touchdown pass of the game.

Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island had an opportunity to score again when a bad snap on a fourth-down punt play gave the Porters the ball at the Center Moriches 34-yard line with 3:40 remaining. The Porters moved the ball to the 15 before losing possession on downs.

The final dagger came when an offsides penalty by the Porters on a fourth-down play gave Center Moriches a first down with 1:16 to go. That allowed the Red Devils to run out the clock.

“I wanted this for them so bad because they didn’t deserve to go 0 and 7,” Center Moriches coach Steve Failla said of his players. “To be honest with you, they all inspire me.”

Things had started off promisingly for the Porters when they scored first for the first time in a game this season thanks to Allen’s 37-yard pass to a wide open Christian Angelson, who waited for the ball to arrive before turning and charging into the end zone with 37 seconds left in the first quarter.

But an ill-timed timeout and three personal fouls that amounted to 45 yards hurt the Porters.

“I couldn’t believe it. I was stunned,” Martilotta said of the personal fouls. “Everything’s a habit. Losing’s a habit and winning’s a habit. I felt like we kind of defeated ourselves today.”

A timeout by the Porters led to Center Moriches’ first touchdown late in the second quarter. The timeout was called on a fourth-and-two situation on the Porters’ 36 with 32 seconds to go in the half. Martilotta said the timeout was called because his punt team was not ready and he didn’t want to give up a blocked punt or a delay-of-game penalty.

“It was a little confusion,” Martilotta said. “That was not at the best time, either.”

On the next play after Matt Drinkwater’s punt, Center Moriches scored on Thomas’ 64-yard pass to Brady. Thomas ran in the ensuing two-point conversion for an 8-7 lead for the Red Devils.

Most of the damage Center Moriches inflicted came through the air. John Cerverizzo caught seven of the 10 passes in which he was targeted for 96 yards.

Lewis played an inspired game. He was in on 16 tackles, including a sack, and recovered a fumble.

Allen had a productive game for the Porters, throwing for 110 yards on 8-of-12 passing and running the ball 19 times for 104 yards.

Connor Anderson had a hand in 10 tackles for the Porters, and Angelson made an acrobatic interception, tipping the ball up in the air to himself.

“We’re not an 0 and 7 team,” Allen said. “That’s what it is on paper, I know. All our guys work hard, practice hard. It’s just a bunch of mental stuff.”

With its win, Center Moriches received a boost to its mental well-being.

“I wanted to win this game bad,” Lewis said. “I just want to go home and celebrate right now and have a great time.”

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10/13/12 6:16pm
10/13/2012 6:16 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island’s Connor Andersen, left, and Jonathan Bakowski laying a hit on Bayport-Blue Point quarterback Brendan Bateman.

PHANTOMS 21, PORTERS 7

Points were hard to come by for the Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island football team on Saturday, and yards were even harder.

Bayport-Blue Point’s defense did not give up any points, surrendered only two pass completions, and allowed the Porters a measly 11 yards from 44 offensive plays as the Phantoms registered a 21-7 win on Bob Sullivan Field. The Porters struggled mightily to move the ball, managing only one first down for the game. They were 1 of 13 on third-down conversions and 0 for 2 on fourth downs.

“Obviously, that was a problem today,” Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island coach Jack Martilotta said. “They came up, filled all the holes real good. There wasn’t a lot of places for us to go. They played quite a defensive game.”

The Phantoms (2-4 Suffolk County Division IV) weren’t lacking for motivation. Not only was it homecoming weekend, but it was also Senior Day, Bayport-Blue Point’s final home game of the regular season and a vital game for the Phantoms’ playoff hopes. In addition to wearing their customary navy blue and gold home uniforms with gold helmets that brought about a resemblance to Notre Dame’s uniform, the Phantoms also wore green socks in honor of their late, legendary coach, Kerry Lawler. Lawler was inducted into the school’s hall of fame earlier in the day.

“The whole community is here,” said Matt McKinnon, who played slot receiver, halfback and cornerback for Bayport-Blue Point. “It’s a big day. Everyone’s having fun.”

Not the Porters (0-6), though. They lost their 11th straight game and almost certainly saw their playoff chances go down the drain.

“It hurts, but we got to keep our heads up,” said Christian Angelson, a wide receiver and cornerback for Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island.

McKinnon was responsible for 15 of Bayport-Blue Point’s points. He scored the team’s last two touchdowns, catching a 48-yard pass from Brendan Bateman in the second quarter and then winding his way 45 yards on a touchdown run, making the score 21-0 with 9 minutes 28 seconds left in the third quarter. The junior also kicked a 21-yard field goal on the final play of the first half.

The Porters gained possessions on four fumble recoveries to keep themselves in the contest. Matt Drinkwater and Eugene Allen collected two fumbles each for the Porters, and Drinkwater ran one of his two back 53 yards for a score 2:01 into the fourth quarter.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | This hit by Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island’s Matt Drinkwater on Bayport-Blue Point’s Anthony Preston forced a fumble.

Bayport-Blue Point scored on its third drive of the game when a defensive back slipped, enabling Jack Flood to run back and catch a pass from Bailey Imbo before racing to the end zone for a 45-yard connection. Flood caught all four passes thrown his way for 70 yards.

Anthony Preston ran for 114 yards on 17 carries for Bayport-Blue Point. McKinnon covered 95 yards on eight runs.

But it was Bayport-Blue Point’s defense that stood out. Anthony Lombardi, one of the team’s 17 seniors, made a game-high 11 tackles, with two sacks and a fumble recovery.

The Porters went three and out on 12 of their 14 possessions, including the first eight. They had a one-play possession that ended with an interception.

“It’s tough,” Martilotta said. “We got to be able to move it and stop it. We didn’t have a lot of luck today moving it.”

Speaking of his defense, Bayport-Blue Point coach Eric Iberger said: “They’ve done a great job all season. What we’ve done, unfortunately, is we’ve turned the ball over on special teams. We’ve given up some special teams touchdowns. We’ve thrown some interceptions that have been returned for touchdowns. We’ve had some costly turnovers inside of four-down territory, shortened the field for the other team.”

Last year Bayport-Blue Point failed to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2007. Iberger said that failure was used as motivation for this year. The Phantoms switched from the wing-T to the spread offense in order to make better use of their athleticism.

With Saturday’s win, fifth-seeded Bayport-Blue Point still controls its destiny. If it wins its remaining games against Mount Sinai and Wyandanch, it would almost surely qualify for the playoffs at 4-4. A 3-5 record would give the Phantoms an outside shot at the postseason.

Asked about his team’s playoff prospects, Iberger said, “I would not put anything past those young men in that locker room.”

McKinnon said, “I think that if we just keep playing hard and we play physical, we’ll definitely make the playoffs.”

Because of its high preseason seeding, Bayport-Blue Point was given a tough schedule that included the top four seeds: Elwood/John Glenn, Mount Sinai, Babylon and Shoreham-Wading River.

Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island’s defense, led by the likes of Jonathan Bakowski (eight tackles), Angelson (seven tackles) and Jack Volinski (six tackles), had its moments, but the Porters’ offense was stagnant.

“Our defense has been stepping up a lot lately, big stops,” Angelson said. “Our offense, it’s a work in progress. I think we’ll get it.”

The losses are mounting, but Martilotta has maintained a hopeful outlook that a turnaround is coming.

“I say it every week, they’re playing good football,” he said. “They played good football today. We couldn’t move the ball. The kids were trying, but [the Phantoms] were very good on defense. The kids keep playing hard, they keep trying. The ball’s going to bounce our way.”

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10/05/12 11:51pm
10/05/2012 11:51 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Timmy Stevens (No. 1) and John Drinkwater after a 53-yard run by Stevens set up Frank Sierra’s six-yard touchdown run on the next play during the second quarter.

WARRIORS 38, PORTERS 27

A night that brought about a lineman’s dream — not once, not twice, but three times — proved to be a nightmare for the struggling Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island football team.

If scoring a touchdown is supposed to be a lineman’s dream, two defensive linemen realized the same dream during Friday night’s Wyandanch-Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island game, and one lineman did so twice. A strange game was made even stranger by the fact that three fumbles were recovered and run back for touchdowns by defensive linemen in Wyandanch’s 38-27 win at Greenport High School’s Dorrie Jackson Memorial Field.

Daquan Brown, who played defensive tackle as well as guard for Wyandanch, collected two fumbles that he took in for touchdowns.

“I’ve never seen anything like that,”  Wyandanch coach Ed Gay said. “I was enjoying every bit of it.”

Brown ripped the ball out of quarterback Eugene Allen’s hands and dashed 61 yards to the end zone, helping the Warriors (2-3 in Suffolk County Division IV) to a 16-0 lead with 30 seconds left in the first quarter. It was the first career touchdown for the senior. On his second touchdown, he took the ball from Frank Sierra before scooting 16 yards, making the score 32-12 with 7:58 remaining in the fourth quarter.

“It’s beautiful, just walking into the end zone,” Brown said. “Oh my gosh. I want to do it again. I want to do it again and again.”

Codey Fisher, a senior defensive end and right tackle for Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island, could relate to the excitement Brown must have felt. Fisher stole the ball from quarterback Marcus Gay and charged 56 yards for the Porters’ first points of the game with 3:46 left in the first half.

“It is freaky. I was shocked,” Fisher said. “I grabbed the ball, and at first I thought it was a dream because I was like, ‘This isn’t happening,’ and then I was like, ‘Oh my God, I just made a touchdown for the first time in my life.’ ”

It was a strange game in other ways, too. The Porters (0-5) committed six turnovers, including five on fumbles, yet somehow were in the game during the later stages. Allen’s one-yard touchdown run and John Drinkwater’s extra point cut Wyandanch’s lead to 32-27 with 2:10 left in the fourth quarter. But a 53-yard touchdown run by Wyandanch’s Matthew Rosa just 20 seconds later sealed the result.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island’s Eugene Allen (No. 5) beat Wyandanch’s Damon Daniels to the ball for an interception during the second quarter.

Wyandanch paid a heavy price for the win, with two of its players being taken away in an ambulance after being injured on separate fourth-quarter plays. Damon Daniels, a kick return specialist and wide receiver, injured his neck, said Ed Gay. After being placed on a stretcher, Daniels held up his right arm with his forefinger pointing up triumphantly before being carried into an ambulance. Earlier in the game, on the first play of the third quarter, Daniels had returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown. Another Wyandanch player injured his left shoulder, said Ed Gay. The identity of that player, who had been brought up recently from the junior varsity team, could not be ascertained. While that player was being attended to with 1:27 left on the game clock, officials put an early end to the game.

The result of the homecoming game marked the 10th straight loss for the Porters.

“It’s another one,” Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island coach Jack Martilotta said. “Last week was a game we definitely could have won, and this week was definitely a game we could have won.”

With 183 rushing yards from Sierra (one touchdown) and 102 from Allen, who ran for two touchdowns, the Porters generated 356 yards worth of offense and converted on eight of 13 third-down plays.

“I felt like we were moving the ball almost at will,” Martilotta said. “We were running all over the place.”

Meanwhile, the Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island defense forced four turnovers itself, including a pair of interceptions by Jack Volinski, one of which was a fine diving snatch on Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island’s own 3-yard line. Sal Loverde made 10 tackles.

Tevaun Carr was in on 11 tackles for Wyandanch.

The Porters’ problem could be described in one word: turnovers. Six turnovers were too much to overcome. Wyandanch scored 14 points off those turnovers. And yet, it could have been worse for Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island. Two Wyandanch touchdowns were nullified by penalties.

A 20-yard touchdown pass on a fourth-and-10 play from Gay to Justice Brughton opened the scoring. Wyandanch went on to take an 18-0 lead when the Porters recovered their own fumble in their end zone for a safety.

The Porters twice pulled to within six points after that, but weren’t able to prevent Wyandanch from winning back-to-back games for the first time since 2000.

“Everything just kind of came together,” Ed Gay said. “We knew we had the athletes.”

The Wyandanch coach said he expected his two injured players to be O.K. “We’re going to get banged up; it’s football,” he said. “Those guys, they were fighting. I mean, they were 0 and 4 and they were fighting. I got to give it to them.”

Turnovers had not been a major issue for the Porters. They had nine turnovers in their previous four games.

“You got to hold onto it,” Martilotta said. “We got in a hole early and we fought the whole game to get out of it. I [thought] that we were going to get out of it, but we just kept dropping that ball.”

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09/29/12 6:18pm
09/29/2012 6:18 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Bishop McGann-Mercy quarterback Asaiah Wilson gave the Monarchs a 12-0 lead by scoring on a 10-yard touchdown run.

MONARCHS 12, PORTERS 7

These Monarchs have pride, and for good reason.

Bishop McGann-Mercy is off to one of the greatest starts in the football team’s history. Indeed, these are heady times for the Riverhead Catholic school. The Monarchs, who were seeded 12th in Suffolk County Division IV in a preseason coaches poll, brought their record to 4-0 on Saturday with a 12-7 homecoming win over Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island at Harold T. Murray Memorial Field.

“Mercy football, 4 and 0!” said Asaiah Wilson, who played quarterback and safety for McGann-Mercy. Wilson went so far as to proclaim this the “best team in Mercy history.”

McGann-Mercy coach Jeff Doroski said he did not know if the Monarchs had ever won their first four games in a season before. “We’re playing much more physical than we’ve ever played before,” he said. “We’re excited about what’s happening here.”

If the Monarchs were looking for an easy time against Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island (0-4), it wasn’t happening. For one thing, it’s a rivalry game, and the Porters played what was easily their best game of the season.

McGann-Mercy can credit its defense for holding on during crunch time. After forcing McGann-Mercy to punt — and benefitting from a couple of penalties in the process — the Porters took possession at the Monarchs’ 40-yard line with 3 minutes 11 seconds to go in the game and the score 12-7. They reached the 16 before being stopped on a fourth-down play in which Eugene Allen absorbed a powerful initial hit by Wilson before being brought down by Ray Ellis for no gain. By holding the Porters several inches short of a first down, McGann-Mercy was able to run off four plays and the remaining time in the game.

“We lost basically by four inches,” said Allen, a junior who made his first start at quarterback. “We gave it all we can, just four inches. It was our game if we just made that one play.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island defensive back Jack Volinski breaking up a pass.

A controversial pass interference call against Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island also had a big impact. The call came in the third quarter, negating an interception by Jack Volinski and allowing McGann-Mercy to retain possession. Two plays later, Wilson took the ball 10 yards on a quarterback sneak for a touchdown that made the score 12-0 with 1:39 left in the third quarter.

“That might have been the game,” Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island coach Jack Martilotta said. “I talked to the official about it. I have no clue why he called that.”

Wilson (7 of 16, 139 yards), a junior transfer from Longwood, was also involved in McGann-Mercy’s first touchdown. He flipped a screen pass to Reggie Archer for a 37-yard touchdown completion in the second quarter.

Archer had a productive running game as well. Traversing a muddy, slick field that made it hard to get traction, the sophomore accumulated 122 yards from 29 carries.

A promising 11-play, 65-yard drive by McGann-Mercy reached the Porters’ 7-yard line. But the Monarchs came away empty-handed on the final play of the first half when Ed Kneski’s 35-yard field-goal attempt was blocked by Timmy Stevens.

Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island got on the scoreboard with 7:42 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Porters capped a 16-play drive with a three-yard touchdown run by Allen, making it a one-score game.

Allen is a playmaker, and that was the Porters’ thinking in going with him at quarterback instead of Matt Drinkwater, who had started the first three games at that position.

“We’re trying to get the ball in his hands as much as we can,” Martilotta said. “Drinkwater was doing well, but we feel [Allen] gives us a better chance to win. He’s quite an athlete. He made a couple of things happen today.”

Allen completed his last eight passes, going 10 of 11 for 104 yards. He said he took his first snaps as a quarterback since he was a freshman, and had not worked on his passing since mini camp over the summer. But he said he was confident. “I think if I had to, I can play any position on the field,” he said.

Allen took his share of hits from a McGann-Mercy defense that was a tough nut to crack. Pat Marelli made a game-high eight tackles, including one of the Monarchs’ six sacks.

Instead of their first win, the Porters dropped their ninth straight loss dating back to last year.

“It hurts,” Martilotta said. He added, “If we got that first down right there [near the end of the game], we’d be having a different interview right now.”

Meanwhile, these are happy times at McGann-Mercy, where the school is abuzz about what its football team has been doing. The Monarchs started the day in third place. Who knows where they will end up by the time the regular season ends? At this point, it looks like a safe bet that the Monarchs will be making their first playoff appearance since 2007. Their remaining games are against Port Jefferson, Shoreham-Wading River, The Stony Brook School and East Hampton/Bridgehampton/Pierson.

“I didn’t know what to expect, but something like this, I’m just shocked,” Wilson said. “I’m overwhelmed.”

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09/21/12 9:21pm
09/21/2012 9:21 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island quarterback Matt Drinkwater tries to shake off Babylon’s Alec Zamet.

PANTHERS 38, PORTERS 0

After the debacle was over and the damage was done, Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island coach Jack Martilotta went about the business of trying to restore flagging spirits. He reminded his players that the sun was going to rise the following morning. It was not the end of the world.

What it was, though, was as unusual a blowout as one will see in high school football.

Traditionally known as a power-running team operating out of the power I, Babylon has undergone a rather dramatic change. Like many other teams — including Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island — Babylon has turned to the spread offense. With athletes like Jake Carlock, Eric Schweitzer and Ray Wardell, it made sense.

“We’re playing to our strength,” Babylon coach Rick Punzone said. “We got to get these kids the ball in space. That’s what’s going to put us over the top.”

Oh, and by the way, Babylon’s defense isn’t too bad, either.

The Panthers showed that when they’re on defense, they not only have the ability to stop the opposing team from scoring, but can score points themselves. Babylon’s defense was responsible for three touchdowns Friday night when the Panthers burst out for 38 points in the opening 8 minutes 30 seconds in a 38-0 romp over Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island.

Fans at Babylon High School saw an interception return for a touchdown, a punt return for a touchdown, a safety off a bad snap, a touchdown pass, another interception return for a touchdown and a fumble return for a touchdown, all within that 8:30 span to break the Suffolk County Division IV game open early.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Martilotta said. “Everything that could have gone wrong in the first quarter did.”

Punzone, who is in his 10th year as Babylon’s coach, said he cannot recall the Panthers having scored that many points in a single quarter before.

It was something Carlock had never seen before. “I don’t remember scoring that much that fast,” he said.

Babylon took starters out of the game during the first quarter. All of the Panthers played, and most of Babylon’s second- and third-string players played two or three quarters, said Punzone.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | The look on Gene Allen’s face told the story as Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island endured a rough night in Babylon.

Carlock said he played only about five minutes before being pulled from the game. He could appreciate what he saw from his teammates on the field as he became a spectator. “We had fun out there,” he said. “We played great.”

Another oddity was the sight of some fans, already assured of the result, leaving Coach Walt Williams Field while the first half was still being played.

Surely, the Porters themselves had seen enough by the time the first quarter finally came to an end. Three Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island turnovers helped fuel the stunning first quarter (the Porters had five turnovers for the game). Babylon (3-0), justifying its No. 3 seeding in the division, held a 17-0 lead before its offense had a chance to snap the ball for the first time.

Carlock already had two touchdowns to his credit by the time 2:51 had elapsed. On the game’s third play from scrimmage, the junior picked off a pass and dashed 25 yards to the end zone. Then, after the Babylon defense held the Porters (0-3) to a three-and-out series, Carlock took a punt back 59 yards for another score.

Things went from bad to worse for the Porters. Their next possession ended when a fourth-down snap flew over punter Matt Drinkwater’s head and through the end zone for a safety.

Before the quarter ended, Alec Zamet tacked on two touchdowns himself. He caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Nick Santorelli and, three plays from scrimmage later, he returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown.

Babylon’s defense came through with more points just two plays from scrimmage after that. Joey Mankiewicz collected a fumble and ran it back 24 yards for the score.

“We heard they were a hard-hitting team and we knew what to expect, but we didn’t expect this,” Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island middle linebacker Connor Andersen said. “I couldn’t believe it was happening, but at that point you can’t put your head down. You got to keep pushing, hit as hard as you can.”

Babylon surely could have added to its scoreboard total, but held off. The Panthers had the ball at the Porters’ 5-yard line in the game’s dying moments. Instead of trying to score, Santorelli took two knees in a sportsmanlike gesture to end the game.

The Porters managed a meager 26 yards of offense — all on the ground. The only first down they earned came late in the third quarter.

It didn’t help that the Porters were missing two players, lineman Tevin Parrish and running back/linebacker Ray Thilberg, to injuries.

On a positive note, the Porters’ defense, led by Sal Loverde’s game-leading 10 tackles, allowed a modest 166 yards.

“It’s hard to stand here after you get mashed in the first quarter like that and say that we’re improving, but the defense looks good,” Martilotta said. “The line played well, I thought. You make that many turnovers in the first quarter, it’s very difficult to come back from” that.

On a humbling night for the Porters, at least one of them could take a degree of consolation in how the players handled themselves under adversity.

“We got a good bunch of kids,” Andersen said. “We weren’t yelling at each other. We kept our heads up and walked off the field with our heads high. I’m proud of our team for that.”

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09/14/12 11:01pm
09/14/2012 11:01 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island’s Jack Volinski trying to move around Hampton Bays’ Taylor Catz.

BAYMEN 50, PORTERS 14

It caught the attention of more than a few people during the opening week of the high school football season when Hampton Bays upset two-time defending Long Island Class IV champion Elwood/John Glenn — on John Glenn’s field, nonetheless. Talk about instant credibility.

Then, on Friday night at Greenport High School’s Dorrie Jackson Memorial Field, Hampton Bays gave further evidence of why it is a team to be taken seriously. Fifty points, 399 rushing yards and 507 yards in total offense says a lot.

Playing defense against the Baymen is tricky. For one thing, tacklers have to catch the ball carrier first. Then, once contact is made, they have to bring the ball carrier down. Both tasks are easier said than done.

It was Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island’s turn to experience the pleasure on Friday night. Hampton Bays ball carriers kept churning their legs, pushing forward and grinding out yards.

“Those running backs are something else,” Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island coach Jack Martilotta said. “They were moving the pile. They’re a tough team to stop.”

Two of those running backs, senior Tracey Kennedy and junior Cody Nolan, ran for two first-half touchdowns each as Hampton Bays ran past the Porters, 50-14, in the Suffolk County Division IV game. Seventh-seeded Hampton Bays (2-0) spoiled Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island’s home opener. Eleven ball carriers, led by Kennedy (13 carries, 139 yards), contributed to the team’s rushing total.

Asked what he thought of his team’s performance, Hampton Bays coach Mike Oestreicher replied simply, “Tonight was as expected.”

Hampton Bays scored touchdowns on its first six series of plays, stretching into the third quarter.

The Baymen burst out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and were up, 36-0, by halftime. They got on the scoreboard on their third offensive play and Kennedy’s first touch of the game, a 47-yard dash off the right side.

Just like that, they were off and running.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Ray Thilberg, who scored one of Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island’s touchdowns against Hampton Bays, cooled off on the sideline.

“I knew they were coming out ready to play,” said Ray Thilberg, who played fullback and right outside linebacker for the Porters.

Later in the first quarter, a punt block by Hampton Bays’ Joe Tuttle set up Justin Carbone’s 38-yard touchdown pass to Taylor Catz two plays later. Catz broke a tackle down the right sideline on the play.

Then a sack and a forced fumble by Alex Lane on the same play led to a fumble recovery by Kyle Bennett. That preceded Nolan’s first touchdown, a two-yard run in which he chugged into the end zone with little trouble with 1 minute 17 seconds left in the first quarter.

Touchdown runs by Lane and Tuttle added to Hampton Bays’ point total in the second half.

“They definitely developed into quite an impressive team,” Thilberg said of the Baymen. “Tonight they came out and performed.”

The 11th-seeded Porters (0-2) scored both of their touchdowns after turnovers by Hampton Bays. Ray Thilberg ran 14 yards for a score after a fumble recovery by Will Tondo gave the Porters possession late in the third quarter.

Then, Christian Angelson intercepted a pass and returned it some 50 yards in the other direction, giving the Porters the ball on the Hampton Bays 31-yard line. In four plays, the Porters reached the 7-yard line before Matt Drinkwater (9 of 14, 113 yards) fired a touchdown pass to Sal Loverde.

Martilotta said he saw mistakes by his team, but he also saw progress.

“Mistakes here, a penalty there, a mistake here, a bad snap or a deep sack and all of a sudden, you know, you got a problem. It’s something we’re building on,” he said. “We played hard. We did a lot of things very well. We still got plenty to work on, but we’re improving. We’re improving each week. That’s always the goal.”

Hampton Bays has fielded some strong teams in recent years. Oestreicher, who is in his ninth year as the team’s coach, isn’t comparing the current Hampton Bays team with its predecessors, though. Not yet, anyway.

“This team is this team,” he said. “They’re going to make their own destiny. They’re two weeks into the season, so for me to compare them to teams that have played full seasons, it’s not fair to them. They’re going to decide by the end of the year what kind of team that they are.”

Hampton Bays has reached the playoffs three straight years, something that had never been done before in team history. Obviously, the Baymen have serious talent, as their headline win over Elwood/John Glenn demonstrated.

“That’s a big one,” said Oestreicher. He added: “Maybe it’s our turn. All I know is we had more points at the end of the game.”

Asked how big that win over the Knights was, Carbone answered: “They were two-time defending Long Island champions. That should say enough.”

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