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Sep 21, 2019 10:34 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Westhampton Beach Football Loses First Home Game Since 2016 In Overtime Thriller With Sayville

Sep 24, 2019 10:47 AM

With 3:34 remaining on the clock in the fourth quarter of the Westhampton Beach football team’s home game with rival Sayville on Friday, the lyrics of DJ Khaled’s song “All I Do Is Win” blasted from the loudspeakers. The Hurricane student fan section boisterously sang along in the bleachers, pumping their fists and waving the homemade banners they’d brought to the game.

Technically, the Canes hadn’t won, and didn’t even have the lead. But when junior running back Aidan Cassara scampered into the end zone after hauling in a pass from senior quarterback Jeff McBurnie to tie the game at 27-27, the fans seemed to think a victory was forthcoming. They could hardly be blamed. The Hurricanes had conditioned them to feel that sense of inevitability on their home field by winning every game they’d played there since late in 2016. Westhampton Beach, the top-ranked team in Division III to start the season, came into the game against third-ranked Sayville not having lost on its home field since a second-round playoff defeat at the hands of East Islip in 2016. After that, the Canes went on to win the Suffolk County and Long Island Championships in 2017 and reached the county championship again last season where it lost to Half Hollow Hills West at Stony Brook University.

But Sayville refused to comply with the narrative on Friday night.

The Golden Flashes blocked the extra-point attempt that would have given the Hurricanes a one-point lead, and then both defenses came up with stops to force overtime. In the extra session, Sayville had possession first, giving them first-and-10 at the Westhampton Beach 25-yard line, following the overtime format. They scored on the second play, putting the pressure on the Canes, who could not answer. The game ended when Sayville’s Jayson Gensch came up with an interception on Westhampton Beach’s second play on its offensive drive, securing the 34-27 win for his team.

Westhampton Beach moved to 1-1 in Division III, taking the loss after a 55-0 drubbing of Harborfields in week one. Sayville improved to 2-0, having beaten Eastport-South Manor, 35-14, in the first week.

The Hurricane fans didn’t get the result they were accustomed to, but the crowd on hand was treated to a great high school football game that had plenty of exciting moments and momentum swings. Westhampton Beach had the early edge, going up, 7-0, in the first quarter, but Sayville answered quickly and took control for the rest of the first half, taking a 20-7 lead into the break after Nathan Casaburi hauled in a pass in the right corner of the end zone from quarterback Jack Chesire — who showcased a solid arm and good accuracy all game — with just 1:43 left in the half.

Westhampton Beach finally got on the board again with 4:48 left in the third quarter, when Jaden AlfanoStJohn broke off a long run up the right sideline to score. The extra point made it 20-14 in favor of Sayville. The Golden Flashes answered back, however, when Chesire hit one of this favorite targets in the game, Brock Murtha, on a long pass-and-run play to put Sayville up 27-14.

With 11:31 left in the fourth quarter, McBurnie made a great throw under pressure and hit Jackson Hulse with a 23-yard pass in the end zone, cutting the lead to 27-21. The Westhampton Beach defense stepped up after that, with senior cornerback Jack Naglieri coming up with a nice breakup of a pass play that forced Sayville to punt with about nine minutes left. Westhampton Beach didn’t get anywhere on its next offensive series, but with 4:45 left in the fourth, Jesse AlfanoStJohn came up with an interception off a bad throw by Chesire, who was under heavy pressure from the rest of the Westhampton Beach defense. The pick gave the Hurricanes the ball back around midfield and set up the scoring drive that led to the tying touchdown.

Despite seeing an impressive comeback unravel into a hard-luck loss, Westhampton Beach head coach Bryan Schaumloffel said he wasn’t disappointed at all in his team’s effort. Jaden AlfanoStJohn had 177 yards on 25 carries with two touchdowns, and Jackson Hulse and Aidan Cassara each had a touchdown reception. McBurnie was 15 for 27 for 126 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. On defense, Jesse AlfanoStJohn, Devin Koonmen and Jack Naglieri each had interceptions. Shavar Coffey had eight tackles and Koonmen had 10 tackles.

“It stinks a little bit, but I’m proud of our guys,” Schaumloffel said after the game. “It wasn’t looking good at halftime. We had a lot of down faces in there. But I think we rallied the troops. They did everything we needed to do coming out of halftime. We told the guys they had to make some plays on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball and they did that. Unfortunately we came up a little short. But I’m proud of them. It was a great high school football game.”

Westhampton Beach is scheduled to visit Hauppauge on Friday for a 6 p.m. game in the first of what will be three straight road games for the Hurricanes.

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