Wyandanch High School’s new football head coach, Josh Shields, really didn’t need a scouting report for his team’s season-opening game Saturday against Greenport/Southold/Mattituck. That’s because, well, Shields was the scouting report.
Shields, 38, was Greenport’s offensive coordinator last year before taking over his first head coaching job at Wyandanch this year. The fact that the two teams opened up their season against each other Saturday added some human interest to the affair.
One thing was for sure: Shields knew who he was facing. Perhaps too much, from Greenport’s perspective.
“We already know who the studs are over there, so we know who to look for,” Shields said before the game. “It’s going to be fun.”
Well, maybe for host Wyandanch. For Greenport, not so much.
Dionte Jordan scored three touchdowns (two on runs) and NyQuan Joiner passed for two as Wyandanch rolled to a 36-20 victory. The score is misleading. Wyandanch held a 36-8 lead before Greenport pulled back a couple of TDs on a winding 58-yard run by Ahkee Anderson and a 30-yard pass from Anderson to Brandon Clark in the final 4 minutes, 11 seconds.
“The first half really surprised me,” Greenport coach Jack Martilotta said. “We scrimmaged well last week. We practiced well this week. To come out and look like that, I was very surprised, to be quite frank. And then in the second half, we were the team that I thought we were.”
Greenport right tackle/nose tackle Jude Swann indicated the game could be seen as a sign of challenges to come. Based on this one game, it doesn’t appear as if this will be an easy season for the Porters, does it?
“I don’t think so,” he said after Greenport’s ninth straight loss, a string that began last year.
A work of art, the game was not. Perhaps that could have been expected of two teams seeded in the bottom half of Suffolk County Division IV. The penalty-filled game saw plenty of mistakes on both sides. The teams combined for 21 penalties (17 by Wyandanch). On three occasions, Wyandanch committed penalties on back-to-back snaps.
The game was marked by bad snaps, fumbles and frequent play stoppages that dragged the game on for some 3 1/2 hours.
“The offense, we just weren’t clicking in the beginning,” said Clark, who also returned a punt 55 yards for a TD. “Towards the end we really started rolling, but it’s our first game. We have to work the kinks” out.
Greenport’s long afternoon began when Deandre Smith picked off a pass and ran it back 75 yards for a score. Jordan (13 carries, 97 yards) added a second TD on a 6-yard run off a toss. Those scores and two-point conversion passes to Marcus Hayward and Jordan made it 16-0 by halftime.
Jordan’s second TD run (a 41-yarder), followed by TD receptions by Jordan and Dennis, made it 36-8 early in the fourth quarter.
Joiner went 8 of 14 for 124 yards.
Among the bright spots for Greenport was the defensive play of Rob Lechner (12 tackles, one sack) and Swann (eight tackles).
Greenport’s blocking woes were an issue, though.
“The one thing we thought we were going to be better at was being able to run downhill, we really did,” Martilotta said. “That didn’t happen. The obvious reason is they were able to get through the line and make tackles. There were times when Ahkee couldn’t even pull out from under center.”
After the game, Greenport players met up with Shields at the center of the field and kidded him about not returning to Greenport.
Martilotta congratulated his former assistant. “I wish him nothing but the best,” he said. “This is a tough job. At the end of the day, you’re trying to get 11 young men to do the same thing, and that is a challenge. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.”
Photo caption: Wyandanch’s new head coach, Josh Shields, meets with some of his former Greenport/Southold/Mattituck players after the game. (Credit: Bob Liepa)