Center Moriches coach Chris O’Brien’s return to his alma mater turned into a successful one Wednesday as the Red Devils recorded a 5-1 win at Southold High School in a Suffolk County League VII boys soccer match.
O’Brien watched juniors Eric Amaya and Ben Hamilton collect two goals and one assist each to lead Center Moriches (6-3, 4-2) after being down 1-0 seven minutes into the game. Liam Pulseipher had a goal and an assist.
A member of the Class of 1979 and a key player for the First Settlers’ 1978 Suffolk Class C champions, O’Brien estimated it was the first time the teams met in a league game since the late 1990s.
The game featured two of the best coaches in the county, pitting Southold’s Andrew Sadowski, the dean of Suffolk boys coaches (he started in 1994) against O’Brien (he started in 1997).
Southold (4-6, 4-4) grabbed a 1-0 lead with 33 minutes, 17 seconds remaining in the first half as Edwin Martinez converted a rebound past goalkeeper Alec Maag before Center Moriches took control.
Amaya equalized with 24:18 left as he put in a back-heel pass from Pulseipher past goalkeeper Dylan Clausen.
Hamilton scored his first goal of the game with 21:09 to go in the half off a Matt Alifano feed to give the Red Devils a 2-1 lead.
The junior forward gave the visitors some breathing room with 8:43 remaining with a hard shot from the right side of the penalty area that Clausen (10 saves) got a hand on for a 3-1 advantage.
Center Moriches added two goals in the second half — one by Pulseipher with 30:26 left and Amaya’s second tally off Hamilton’s right-wing cross with 13:37 to go.
Southold next plays against Pierson/Bridgehampton at Mashashimuet Park in Sag Harbor on Oct. 5.