Football: Impressive Hampton Bays spoils Porters’ home opener

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


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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