PORTERS 28, BONACKERS 7
A lineman’s dream highlighted the second game of a dream start to the high school football season for Greenport/Southold/Mattituck.
Coaches often tell players not to try to pick up fumbles, but fall on them instead. Yet, when Codey Fisher, a lineman for the Porters, saw the ball knocked out of his quarterback’s hands in the third quarter, he had other ideas.
Fisher said he had one thought after scooping up the ball: Race to the end zone.
Although the 6-foot-4, 260-pound Fisher didn’t quite make it there, he did leave a mini-wake of destruction in his path as he ran over and knocked aside East Hampton/Bridgehampton tacklers before being shoved out of bounds at the Bonackers’ 9-yard line.
“I ran over one and I ran past three,” he said, wearing a broad smile on his face.
What Fisher’s fumble recovery and 19-yard run did, though, was set up a touchdown run by Frank Sierra on the next play, snapping a 7-7 tie and sending the Porters on the way to a 28-7 win on Saturday at East Hampton High School.
The 13th-seeded Porters (2-0 in Suffolk County Division IV), who entered the season with a 13-game losing streak, now have a two-game winning streak. Just like that.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Connor Malone, the Porters’ wide receiver and free safety.
Sierra, who ran for 3 touchdowns, collecting 135 yards from 32 carries, said, “We haven’t felt this feeling in a long time, and boy does it feel good.”
Clearly, these aren’t the same Porters who struggled mightily the past two years. Fisher said as much. “It’s a new start, a new beginning,” he said. “I told everyone in the locker room. I said, ‘It starts now; it ends never.’ ”
The seeds of this victory were planted during the off-season and fortified during the preseason with conditioning drills. The 7-7 score at halftime was reflective of how evenly played the game was to that point. But the Porters’ big offensive line appeared to wear down the Bonackers in the second half when the home team was held to a measly 39 yards of offense.
“They were just exhausted, and we were still going,” Sierra said. “We were ready for a fifth quarter if we had to.”
Greenport/Southold/Mattituck coach Jack Martilotta said his players do a lot of running in practice and are “in fairly good shape. You know, everybody hates running, but I think today that they really saw it. This was a good team out here, East Hampton, and in the end we had more gas in the tank. I think it had a lot to do with it, I really do. We run the ball a lot, and that will wear you out.”
Indeed, 51 of the Porters’ 59 offensive plays were runs.
No. 8 seed East Hampton/Bridgehampton (0-2) took a 7-0 lead on a quarterback keeper by Cortland Heneveld in the first quarter.
The Porters nearly responded immediately with Christian Angelson returning the ensuing kickoff 90 yards along the sideline and into the end zone, only to see the touchdown nullified by a block-in-the-back penalty.
No matter. The Porters found the end zone on that next series with Bill McAllister running in his second touchdown of the season.
Then the Porters put some separation between themselves and the Bonackers by scoring touchdowns on their first three series of the second half, all by Sierra.
“We came into this game and showed people what we really could do,” said Sierra.
Malone, who said his ribs were hurting him after taking a hit early in the game, turned in a team-leading 8 tackles for the Porters defense, which forced three turnovers and held the Bonackers’ option offense to 169 yards and only two pass completions.
“Connor Malone had one heck of a game,” Martilotta said. “He saved us about 10 times today.”
Bryan Gamble and Colton Kalbacher made 9 tackles each for East Hampton/Bridgehampton. Gamble also had a sack.
Martilotta said he is aware of Fisher’s penchant for running with the ball. “He lets us know how fast he thinks he is,” said the coach.
Fisher, who played right tackle and left defensive end, likes running with the ball, and it’s not exactly foreign to him. In a game against Wyandanch last year, he stole the ball from quarterback Marcus Gay and charged 56 yards for a touchdown.
Fisher nearly scored again on Saturday.
“I ran my heart out,” he said. “I was close.”