As the game’s final minutes wound down, an ambulance carrying the injured Hunter Anderson was making its way from Greenport High School’s Dorrie Jackson Memorial Field to a hospital. One wondered if the Greenport/Southold/Mattituck football team’s playoff chances were disappearing in the distance, too.
Then again, the Porters had a more important thing to worry about at the moment than trying to reach the postseason for the first time in nine years: Anderson’s health.
In a physical 29-19 loss to Center Moriches Friday night, Anderson twice walked off the field in the second half with apparent injuries. The second occasion, early in the fourth quarter, was more serious, though. Anderson was driven in a cart from the team bench to an awaiting ambulance near the field.
Shortly after the game, Greenport coach Tim McArdle referred to Anderson, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound senior defensive end/tight end, as being “seriously injured.” He had not yet, however, received a report on the nature of the player’s injury, apparently sustained during a Porters’ incomplete pass.
Asked if Anderson was the victim of an illegal hit, McArdle answered: “No question. He was on the ground. The kid jumped on him when he was on the ground.”
Greenport quarterback Gavin Richards sounded hopeful. “He was getting beat up all game,” said Richards (8 of 14 passing, 107 yards, two interceptions). “I’m not sure the exact details of the injury, but he’s a tough kid — He should pull though.”
An eight-game regular season leaves teams with little wiggle room. Greenport (2-4 Suffolk County Division IV) entered the game in eighth place. Eight teams from the division will reach the playoffs. The loss leaves the Porters in a difficult position, with remaining games at home to East Hampton/Pierson next Friday night and at Mount Sinai Oct. 29.
McArdle said Friday’s game was “not a complete must-win.” Assessing the playoff possibilities, he said, “There’s a chance, not much.”
Ev Corwin scored all three Greenport touchdowns, from a 46-yard run, an 85-yard interception return and a 5-yard burst. The senior, who ran 14 times for 105 yards, paid a price for all of that. After the game, he was hobbling about on a bad leg, but he maintained his sense of humor.
“Alright, so the trainer said I had a hematoma in my [left] leg,” he said. “My left knee swelled up and I got a few cramps. Other than that, I’m fantastic.”
Corwin thrilled the home crowd on the game’s fourth play from scrimmage when he took a handoff up the middle, found nothing there and bounced to his right before turning on the jets for a TD. He energized the crowd with his interception of a pass tipped by teammate Aimen Tabor and took that all the way to the end zone.
Center Moriches (2-4) had an “Ev Corwin” of its own, a player with similar explosiveness: Judah Williams. Williams enjoyed a 201-yard rushing game from 23 carries.
Williams and Gavin Kleine both operated in the backfield, working out of a double Wildcat formation, with the snap going to either of them as they stood with their hands ready to receive the ball. It was on one such play, the first of the fourth quarter, that Williams took the snap and bolted 48 yards for a TD. Center Moriches’ female kicker, Madison Trace, booted the extra point for a 29-13 lead.
The bulk of Kleine’s 112 passing yards came on TD passes of 50 yards to Xavier Bryant and 47 yards to Nasir Carroll on successive first-quarter possessions.
“Everyone was putting their all into it,” Richards said. “We were both fighting. We want a playoff spot. Both teams want a playoff spot. This game was a big one.”
Center Moriches had a pick-six of its own on the final play of the first half, Barry Stanek running the ball back for a 65-yard score. Williams’ run for two points made it 22-7.
Danny Breen was in on nine tackles for Greenport.
“We were really hoping for a different result,” Greenport senior Rudy Bruer said. “Physical game, but unsportsmanship on both sides of the ball wasn’t good, wasn’t ideal.”
McArdle assessed the situation this way: “We’re two teams that want it and we’re two rough teams. We’re two teams that were desperate to play, two teams that don’t like each other, generally, so yeah, every time we play it’s a little rough.”
And now one of those teams may be without a top lineman, possibly for the remainder of the season.
Said McArdle, “Losing Hunter is a huge, huge blow to us.”