Football: For Porters, Murphy’s Law hits like hurricane

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09/07/2019 7:29 AM |

Hurricane Dorian missed Greenport, but another powerful force didn’t. It hit the small North Fork village hard, packing one heck of a punch.

Southampton/Bridgehampton/Pierson delivered a wallop on Greenport/Southold/Mattituck in the season-opening game for both Suffolk County Division IV football teams Friday night.

Everything that could go right went right for Southampton. Everything that could go wrong went wrong for Greenport.

That’s the best way to describe the first half. It was more than enough to send Southampton on the way to a 40-8 throttling of the Porters at Greenport High School’s wet Coach Dorrie Jackson Memorial Field. It was a winning beginning for Southampton’s new coach, Chris Campbell.

Southampton, seeded eighth in the 11-team division (Greenport was seeded 11th), got payback for last year’s meeting between the teams on the same field.

Tyrus Smiley, who has since graduated, stole the show that night, scoring three touchdowns for Greenport (two on first-quarter kickoff returns) as well as making five tackles, deflecting three passes and coming up with a fumble.

On Friday, though, it was a night for Southampton players like Hudson Brindle and Sincere Faggins to shine.

Shining brightly wasn’t something Greenport had to worry about. The Porters ushered in the new season in just about the worst way possible. The Mariners ran in touchdowns on their first four possessions. Brindle broke through and blocked successive punts by Danny Breen in the first quarter. He also had an interception, one of Southampton’s three sacks (the other two belonged to Alex Boyd and Richard Barranco) and made two tackles.

Greenport’s offense was the epitome of anemic. The Porters managed only 71 yards from 35 plays for the game. Half of Greenport’s 18 rushing plays went for a loss. The Porters finished with minus-8 yards on the ground. By halftime, Greenport had a measly 12 yards from scrimmage. The first of their two first downs didn’t come until their first series in the third quarter.

“The first half, I can’t lie; we were pretty bad,” said Greenport’s Josh Starzee, who jumped high to bring down a 30-yard touchdown pass from Nick Denicola late in the third quarter.

It was an odd start for Greenport, which faced a third-and-11 from its own 8-yard line after a 10-yard penalty for an illegal block was marched off against the Porters. Yet, they punted. Was it a goof?

No, coach Jack Martilotta said. “We said, ‘Let’s just cut our losses and kick it.’ ”

On the fifth play after that punt, Faggins, the Southampton quarterback, deftly tiptoed between defenders for a 15-yard score before running in the two-point conversion.

The next Greenport series ended when Brindle had his first punt block and then recovered the ball at the Porters’ 1-yard line. On the ensuing snap, Faggins darted through the left side. Demitris Barranco bulled forward for the two extra points. Before the first quarter ended, Demitris Barranco had a TD run of his own and Southampton held a 22-0 lead.

Martilotta might have had trouble believing what he was seeing.

“I’ll be honest with you, I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I take full responsibility. I’m the head coach. That’s my fault.”

A Greenport fumble set up the fourth Southampton TD. This time it was Seven Faggins — Sincere’s brother who fittingly wears uniform No. 7 — carrying the ball in from 16 yards. Dakoda Smith caught a two-point pass, making it 30-0.

Greenport’s run of misfortune continued. While under heavy pressure on a second-down play from Greenport’s 7, Denicola hurled a pass toward the sideline with not a Porter in sight. He was whistled for intentional grounding in the end zone and Southampton was awarded a safety for a 32-0 lead.

A 3-yard TD run by Richard Barranco, followed by Sincere Faggins’ run for the conversion, stretched that lead to 40-0 early in the third quarter.

Greenport mounted one nice series, but it led to Starzee’s first career TD. The highlight of that drive was a sensational lunging catch by Matt Warns for a 33-yard gain to the Southampton 9. Warns later caught a pass for two points.

“We found hope,” said Starzee.

The Porters had some pluses, like the defensive play of people like Jay Tramontana, Nick Smith and Julio Coc Thomas. Tramontana, a freshman defensive end who played junior high ball last year, was involved in a game-high nine tackles, five solo. “He had a heck of a game, he really did,” said Martilotta.

“I was really happy with my play,” Tramontana said. “I never thought I’d be able to play that well at this level.”

For the Porters, though, it was not the way they wanted to christen the season.

Martilotta, wearing an exasperated look on his face, said: “It’s tiring when everything goes wrong. It kind of wore us down. That first quarter, it felt like a month.”

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Photo caption: Josh Starzee rises up to catch a 30-yard pass for Greenport/Southold/Mattituck’s only touchdown of the night. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

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