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Football: Porters suffer from fumblitis

Jack Martilotta believes his Greenport/Southold/Mattituck football team made progress since its season-opening loss last week. Then again, five lost fumbles and a five-touchdown performance by Wyandanch’s Rashaun Malloy went a long way toward obscuring that progress.

Greenport was often its own worst enemy Friday night when those five turnovers led to 30 Wyandanch points in a 54-12 rout by the Warriors. Those fumbles were killers.

“We kept fumbling,” Martilotta said after the Suffolk County Division IV game at Coach Dorrie Jackson Memorial Field. “I mean, you’re not going to score if you keep fumbling.”

On one of those fumbles, Malloy ripped the ball out of Nick DeNicola’s hands and bolted 61 yards the other direction, setting up his first touchdown of the game.

“When you have too many turnovers, it’s hard to overcome them,” said Greenport right guard/nose tackle Julio Coc Tomas (four tackles, two fumble recoveries).

Dropped passes hurt, too. DeNicola went 3-for-15 passing (two of those passes resulted in touchdowns by Jay Tramontana and Matt Warns). But four of the sophomore quarterback’s passes hit receivers’ hands, only to fall incomplete. Martilotta counted three dropped passes that would have been TDs.

It was Friday the 13th, with a virtually full moon hanging in the sky. Perhaps the rash of Greenport turnovers could be attributed to that.

“They got a lot of momentum off of those and we just kept going downhill,” said Warns.

For the past several weeks or so, down and distance wasn’t on Wyandanch’s mind so much as days and dollars. That would be days, as in the dwindling number of practice days the Warriors had before their season-opening game, and dollars, as in the money that needed to be raised in order for Wyandanch to have a football season at all.

After two proposed school budgets were defeated in Wyandanch, a contingency budget was adopted with no funding for sports. Through fundraising efforts and donations, Wyandanch’s sports teams were saved with $350,000 in donations, including $150,000 from a state grant to fight gangs and $25,000 from the New York Jets.

A first-week bye worked in Wyandanch’s favor. Then, on Friday, the Warriors took the 1-hour-and-45-minute bus ride to Greenport for their first game.

“We wanted to play football,” Malloy told reporters before the game. “I knew it was going to happen. I had faith.”

Earlier, Wyandanch coach Josh Shields, who two years ago was Greenport’s offensive coordinator, had been asked what he expected. “Everything is coming so quickly, so we really don’t have expectations,” he said.

Evidence of the rush to put a team together could be seen on the heads of the Wyandanch players. Most of the Warriors wore all black helmets, although some had white helmets.

But there was no question that Malloy was ready for the season. The senior running back had four touchdowns and 168 yards by halftime before tacking on another TD, a 59-yarder, on his only touch of the second half to finish with 227 rushing yards.

Malloy is a slippery back, with speed, to boot. On that 59-yard score, he looked as if he was bottled up, surrounded by Porters, before twirling free and dashing off.

And that wasn’t even his longest run of the day. On Malloy’s fourth TD, a 79-yarder, he shot through a hole on the right side and didn’t stop until he reached the end zone.

In the game’s opening 10:45, Malloy already had three TDs to his credit.

“We had him in the backfield a lot and then we just let him go,” said Warns, who made five tackles with one pass defended. “Yeah, that kid was fast.”

Seventh-seeded Wyandanch, a playoff team last year, also received third-quarter TDs from Teywan Hailey (a 17-yard TD run) and Yadyre Watson (a 9-yard pass from DeAndre Smith).

After managing only 71 yards of offense in a 40-8 season-opening loss to Southampton/Bridgehampton/Pierson, Greenport (0-2) had 82 yards Friday. Wyandanch ran up 303.

It was Wyandanch’s fourth straight win over Greenport, scoring 32 points or more in each of those contests, according to Newsday.

Greenport lost 13 players from last year’s team, and that inexperience shows.

“We got a lot of work to do,” Warns said. “This whole week we had a good practice every day. I mean, we just have to execute it in a game. We’re a very young team. I mean, most people have never played varsity. They barely even played JV last year, so it’s just getting the experience under our belt, and all we can do is give a hundred percent effort and it will play out how it’s supposed to play out.”

Martilotta said: “At the end of the day, they were a very good team. My hat’s off to them, but with that said, we were self-defeating in a lot of ways.”

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Photo caption: Greenport/Southold/Mattituck’s Matt Warns running the ball in the first half. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)