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Sep 14, 2019 1:30 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

With Heavy Hearts, AlfanoStJohn Brothers Help Lead Westhampton Beach Football To Season-Opening Blowout Victory

The Hurricanes, led by one of their captains Jaden AlfanoStJohn, raise their helmets at the end of the national anthem.  DREW BUDD DREW BUDD
Sep 16, 2019 3:09 PM

There are only eight games on a varsity football schedule, so when it comes to a player having to make a decision to miss a game, outside of injury, it’s usually for extenuating circumstances. Jaden and Jesse AlfanoStJohn faced that decision early this week when their mother, Rose AlfanoStJohn, inexplicably died at the age of 56 from complications to a routine medical procedure on September 7 — less than a week from the Westhampton Beach football team’s season opener on Friday night against Harborfields.

To play or not to play? The AlfanoStJohn brothers — senior co-captains and arguably the Hurricanes’ top players — could have made the easy decision to sit out. They actually could have decided to sit out a couple of games, and no one within the Westhampton Beach football program, or the community for that matter, would have batted an eye.

Both Jaden and Jesse said after Friday night’s game that there was no hesitation in their decisions — they were playing — and they both played a huge role in leading the Hurricanes to a 55-0 blowout of Harborfields.

“My Mom, she loved football games. She would want us to play and not sit out — and make her proud,” Jaden said.

“She came to every one of our games,” Jesse added. “She would have wanted us to be out here and doing what we do.”

Jaden paced the offense with four touchdowns and rushed for 212 yards on 14 carries, while Jesse caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Jeff McBurnie in the second quarter and made five tackles and a sack on defense.

Jesse was also playing his first game with Cory Hubbard’s number 12, given to one player at the start of each season who best represents Hubbard’s qualities of leadership, selflessness, dedication and commitment. Hubbard was an All-County multi-sport athlete who was hit by a drunk driver and killed during his senior year at the University of Maryland. Previous players who have worn the number include Brian Corrigan and Dylan Laube.

Westhampton Beach head coach Bryan Schaumloffel appreciated the brothers’ play on Friday night.

“I really can’t say enough about them. They did a great job,” he said. “They had it tough early on in the week … they handled it great. It happened this past Saturday, they missed two days, and they came back.

“I can’t say enough about our community and our parents, our players, and the support that they gave them,” Schaumloffel added. “But they came back in focused and ready to play, and I’m really proud of them.”

Jaden punched in the Hurricanes’ first touchdown of the season on the first offensive drive of Friday night’s game from two yards out. He was quickly helped up from senior linemen Chris Daleo and Kevin Dillon, at which point Jaden pointed to the sky in remembrance of his late mother. Later in the quarter, with under 40 seconds remaining, Jaden made some nifty moves en route to a 37-yard touchdown run. On his way back the sideline, Jaden could be heard saying, “That was all Mom right there.”

“Going into the game, I was ready,” Jaden said. “We all knew what we had to do. My line did a great job. Jesse did a great job. And we just did our assignments and did what we needed to do.”

Westhampton Beach led, 34-0, by halftime, and that lead increased quickly when junior Aidan Cassara, who scored midway through the second quarter on a 20-yard receiver screen play, took the opening kickoff of the second half 85 yards for a touchdown. Jaden added his fourth and final score of the game about halfway through the third, and at that point head coach Bryan Schaumloffel started to get in his reserves.

McBurnie, starting his first varsity game under center, was highly efficient in what is a brand new, no-huddle offensive scheme for the Canes this season. He was 8 for 15 for 90 yards and two touchdown passes. Christian Capuano, a junior, did get into the game as quarterback in the second half and punched in his first varsity touchdown from a yard out about midway through the fourth quarter.

The Westhampton Beach defense held Harborfields to only 130 yards of total offense. Senior linebacker Shavar Coffey had 10 tackles and a sack, junior nose tackle Dom Sarno had six tackles and a sack and senior linebacker Devin Koonmen intercepted a pass midway through the first quarter, which was aided in pressure on the Harborfields quarterback from senior defensive end Kevin Dillon.

“We’re still a work in progress,” Schaumloffel said. “We had way too many penalties, way too many mental mistakes, and if we want to accomplish our goals, we have to clean up a lot of things.”

Many of the penalties on Friday night, from both teams, came as delay of game infractions due to a new 40-second play clock being implemented throughout Suffolk County this season. In years past, one of the officials would get the ball, set it down, then set a 25-second play clock. This season, once a player is ruled down or out of bounds, an official starts a 40-second play clock. The new rule has also led to teams being required to bring a pair of ball boys or girls to the game to make sure everything goes smoothly.

“They’re trying to speed up the game, and they’re also trying to make the game a little bit more consistent, because some refs took a little bit longer to set the ball and what not,” Schaumloffel explained. “I kind of like it. I like the consistency of it. I like the speed of it.”

Westhampton Beach will face a much stiffer test in its next game when it hosts longtime rival Sayville this Friday night at 6 p.m. Schaumloffel, a history teacher, said the two teams both started their football programs back in 1929, so there is a great tradition between the two and that will continue this coming week.

“We’re at the point where we’re expecting to play great against them,” he said. “We’re going to have a great week of practice, we’re going to prepare for them, and it’s going to be a fun high school football game Friday night.”

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Great article 2 weeks ago about Julius Anglickas and his MMA dreams .
I use to see him running to school every morning.
Great athlete and kid back then... seems nothing changed!
By mexicokid (21), brooklyn on Sep 19, 19 12:50 PM