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Sep 24, 2019 2:49 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Hampton Bays Football Can't Outlast Center Moriches

Lucas Brown leads the Baymen onto the field for their home game against Center Moriches on Saturday. DREW BUDD
Sep 24, 2019 3:29 PM

Sometimes football comes down to more than just Xs and Os. Outside elements can play just as much of a factor.

Unseasonably warm temperatures bared down on both the Center Moriches and Hampton Bays football teams on Saturday afternoon, and with both seeming to be evenly matched, it looked like the game was going to come down to which would win a war of attrition.

With the Baymen missing four starters going into the game, the Red Devils had the edge and pulled out the 34-6 victory.

The Baymen fell to 0-3 on the season, and if they want to have any chance of making the Suffolk County Division IV postseason, they’ll have to start turning things around this week. They play at Bayport/Blue Point this Friday night at 6 p.m. A win keeps them in the hunt, while a loss severely dampens their chances of a postseason berth. It’s a familiar situation for a few of the seniors who were on the team as freshmen four years ago when they needed a victory over Bayport to clinch a playoff spot and they did so in what was a memorable overtime game.

“We can be competitive, and it’s certainly a winnable game. I don’t think any game is easy any more,” Hampton Bays head coach Rich Doulos said. “We just have to concentrate on the rest of our games. Being the 10 seed out of 11 teams, if we can beat the teams in front of us and have a 4-4 record, I think we an grab one of the last playoff spots.

“The one thing I have to say about our kids is they still had a positive attitude after Saturday’s game. They knew that game was within their grasp,” Doulos added. “I think the kids understand we have to take whatever momentum we have from this past game and bring it to Bayport.”

Hampton Bays played its best first half of the season on Saturday but it didn’t initially start the game off that great. Center Moriches faced a 4th and 8, when quarterback Hunter Hassett hooked up with receiver Jack D’Agostino on a pass play that looked like it was going to be just enough for a first down, but D’Agostino basically went untouched for the 23-yard touchdown, and after Nae’Jon Ward’s successful extra point, the Red Devils led, 7-0.

The Baymen started to turn things around toward the end of the first quarter. Cooper Shay deflected a punt that gave the Baymen good field position into Center Moriches territory. Quarterback Lucas Brown made a nice scramble out of the pocket eluding a Center Moriches defender and gaining a first down on the play. After Quinn Smith just missed scoring on a run, he punched the ball in on the very next play with 1:32 remaining in the quarter for the Baymen’s first score of the season. Then, on the next drive, Jack Gilbert forced a fumble and recovered the ball at midfield. Hampton Bays was unable to do anything on the ensuing drive, but it still had some good momentum.

But Ahkee Anderson, the basketball standout who transferred to Center Moriches from Greenport for his senior year, broke off a long run and followed that up with a 4-yard score to put Center Moriches up, 13-6, midway through the second quarter. After both teams traded interceptions, Center Moriches was driving on the final drive of the first half, but the Baymen were able to keep them from scoring and went into the locker room down just seven points.

Hampton Bays seemed to be a little sluggish from the start of the second half and Center Moriches took advantage of it. Hassett hooked up with D’Agostino for a 7-yard touchdown strike halfway through the third, Emond Frazier broke out for a 37-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter, and the Red Devils recovered what was a botched snap by Hampton Bays and Brett Furhman ran the very next play in from 14 yards out to create the final score.

Doulos said that missing four key players definitely had an impact on the game. He said most, if not all of them, should be back for this week’s game at Bayport.

“Some guys did a great job stepping up, but we weren’t able to rotate a lot and we had a communication breakdown on offense where we weren’t sure who was in and who was out,” he said. “The offense is something that we have to continue to work on.”

Brown, Nick Corredor and Kevin Posada each had four tackles on defense, with Posada adding a sack. River Orlando intercepted a pass on defense and Gilbert had three tackles to go along with his forced fumble and recovery. Smith rushed for 78 yards and scored the lone touchdown for the Baymen.

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