BAYMEN 25, PORTERS 13
A brilliant green, yellow and orange rainbow hung in the sky beyond Greenport High School’s Dorrie Jackson Memorial Field following a pregame rain shower. If there was a playoff berth instead of a pot of gold to be found at the end of that rainbow, it would have been found by the Hampton Bays Baymen.
In a Suffolk County Division IV football game that boosted Hampton Bays’ playoff chances as much as it damaged those of the Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island Porters, the Baymen pulled themselves to within one win of making school history. Andrew Morris ran for two first-quarter touchdowns, helping Hampton Bays to a 25-13 victory on Friday night. Hampton Bays coach Mike Oestreicher said the result brought his team to within one win of a playoff berth. If the Baymen (3-3) beat either The Stony Brook School Bears or the Amityville Warriors in their final two regular-season games, they would reach the playoffs for the third straight year, something the team had never done before.
“We’re one away,” said Oestreicher, whose team started the season 1-3.
Meanwhile, the loss may have sabotaged the 1-5 Porters’ chances of returning to the postseason. Their last two regular-season games are against tough Amityville and the Bishop McGann-Mercy Monarchs.
Asked if he had just seen the postseason slip from his team’s grasp, Porters coach Jack Martilotta replied: “I don’t know. That’s possible.”
It was the final home game of the regular season for the Porters. Several members of the undefeated 1958 Porters team that won the Rutgers Trophy were recognized during a halftime ceremony.
Martilotta may have wished he had those players in their prime playing for him. As it was, the current Porters had their hands full with the determined Baymen. Morris’ two touchdowns (giving him six in two games), followed by a 22-yard scoring run in which Juan Ramirez slipped through three tacklers, helped the Baymen take an 18-0 lead by the time the second quarter was 3 minutes 43 seconds old.
“Back to back weeks we’ve come out in the first quarter and we put it on people,” Oestreicher said, “and it puts the pressure on the opponent to play catchup the rest of the game.”
The Porters did have Tomasz Filipkowski, who had sat out last week’s game against the Elwood/John Glenn Knights with an ankle injury, back in action.
“When you have another athlete of his caliber,” teammate Ryan Malone said, “it just helps an unmeasurable amount.”
Filipkowski scored the Porters’ first touchdown on Friday night on a fourth-down play from the Hampton Bays’ 1-yard line with 1:59 left in the second quarter, but the Porters were unable to get much momentum from it. Tracey Kennedy took the ensuing kickoff, found a seam and exploded through it, racing 80 yards for a touchdown. It was his third kickoff return for a touchdown in as many games. Justin Carbone’s point after made it 25-6.
Malone, a senior playing in his final regular-season home game, had a one-yard touchdown run for the Porters with 6:24 remaining in the game.
After Malone’s score, Chris Manwaring successfully executed an onside kick that teammate Connor Malone fell on, keeping the Porters’ slim hopes alive. But the Porters were unable to pick up a first down on the next series and Hampton Bays ran off nine plays before the Porters got the ball again with only 1:01 to go.
“We’ve all grown,” said Morris, who might have had the dirtiest jersey of any player after the game. “We’ve gotten better and we’re all working together a lot better.”
The Hampton Bays defense was fortified by Michael Ponesse and Morris, who were both involved in 11 tackles.
Malone made 11 tackles for the Porters. Filipkowski had seven tackles to go with his 77 rushing yards.
“As good as they are on offense, I think they’re both better on defense, to be honest with you,” Martilotta said. “Tom is an exceptional linebacker. Ryan just makes things happen out there.”
The Porters got a look at one of their young players, Jared Schenone, a sophomore who started at quarterback in his varsity debut. He alternated at the position with Ryan Malone, who also played running back.
Ryan Malone knew this game was different since it was almost certainly the last time he played on this field, the same field where he made his varsity debut as a sophomore against Hampton Bays. He said he normally isn’t nervous before games, but this time he was.
“We were looking to get a win,” Ryan Malone, with disappointment written on his face, said in a nearly deserted locker room.
Martilotta said, “This is their last home game, and that’s always an emotional thing for kids.”