The weather for Friday night’s season-opening football game at Hampton Bays High School was nothing less than splendid — crisp and comfortable. Some thunder and lightning, though, spoiled things for Greenport/Southold/Mattituck.
Accounting for the thunder part was Hampton Bays’ bruising 6-foot, 200-pound sophomore fullback, Quinn Smith, who is a handful to bring down. As for the lightning, his backfield mate, senior running back Nico Antieri, provided the speed and razzle-dazzle.
The two each ran for second-half touchdowns as Hampton Bays turned a 6-0 deficit into a 27-14 victory over the Porters in the Suffolk County Division IV game.
Following a pedestrian first half, the two Baymen poured it on in the second half. Antieri bolted for 166 of his 186 yards in the second half while Smith galloped for 110 of his 135 yards over the final two quarters.
Though disappointed by the result, Greenport learned at least a couple of things: It has a special quarterback in Ahkee Anderson and tight end/defensive end Jude Swann can play.
Anderson, a 5-9, 150-pound sophomore with some amazing moves of his own, was stellar in his first varsity start. On several occasions he turned potential botched plays into positive gains. Twice he scooped up mishandled shotgun snaps and somehow completed passes on the play — a 52-yarder to Sean McElroy and a 37-yarder to Sean Sepenoski. The McElroy reception set up Sepenoski’s 8-yard touchdown run for a 6-0 lead in the second quarter.
Anderson completed eight of his first 11 passes, finishing the game going 12-for-21 for 166 yards. He threw one interception, a spectacular one-handed grab by James Moscato of a long throw downfield. In addition, Anderson ran for 70 yards, 34 of which came on a touchdown run late in the game.
Swann, a hulking 6-5, 275-pound junior in his first year of football, was impressive in his first game. He caught four passes for 42 yards and caused disruption on the defensive side of the ball, recovering a fumble.
The two teams have striking similarities. Both went 4-4 last year and are seen, at best, as middle-of-the pack runners. Greenport was seeded 12th in the division while Hampton Bays was seeded three notches higher.
They appeared to be a good match for each other — at least in the first half. Hampton Bays opened the third quarter with a seven-play drive capped by a 17-yard Antieri run around the right side for a tying TD. Greenport’s Robert Lechner blocked the extra-point attempt.
The first play of the Baymen’s next series gave Smith his turn to reach the end zone. He took a handoff up the middle, broke outside to his left and then charged back up the middle for a 53-yard TD. It was the first of two Smith TDs within a span of four offensive snaps by Hampton Bays.
A 47-yard dash by Antieri, followed by Dan Chekijian’s kick, made it 27-6 with 6 minutes, 52 seconds left in the game.
Jordan Fonseca, a senior running back/cornerback who may be Greenport’s best player, watched the game from the sideline and did not play. Fonseca, who missed much of training camp with a high ankle sprain, will play in the team’s next game next Friday night at Bishop McGann-Mercy, said coach Jack Martilotta.
Photo caption: Greenport/Southold/Mattituck quarterback Ahkee Anderson went 12-for-21 passing for 166 yards in his first varsity start. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)