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Oct 14, 2019 1:22 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Westhampton Beach Football Holds On To Tough 21-14 Victory At Hills West

Westhampton Beach senior Jaden AlfanoStJohn takes a handoff from junior quarterback Christian Capuano. AlfanoStJohn rushed for 177 yards on 25 carries and scored all of the 'Canes three touchdowns on Saturday afternoon. DREW BUDD
Oct 14, 2019 3:55 PM


Last year’s loss to Half Hollow Hills West in the Suffolk County Division III Championship was a tough blow for the Westhampton Beach football team. It was a bit of a double whammy: Not only did the Hurricanes lose in the county final, but it brought an end to their 22-game winning streak, one that had started two years earlier.

Many of the players who endured that loss admitted they went into Dix Hills on Saturday afternoon with that fresh on their minds and they were set to avenge it the best way they could, by beating the Colts on their home field. They did just that, winning the game, 21-14.

“I was thinking about it the whole week,” Westhampton Beach senior Shavar Coffey, whose pressure on Hills West senior quarterback Eliot Porter on the final play forced an incompletion, said after the game. “Last year, we were all juniors, [we] figured this is our team right now, so we just need to step up and get our revenge.”

It looked like Hills West (3-2 Division III) was going to make it a long game for the ’Canes (4-1 Division III), controlling the ball and the tempo for most, if not all, of the first quarter, and they opened up the scoring on what was a botched defensive play. The ’Canes had at least three defenders surrounding the intended receiver, but the ball deflected up in the air and in the arms of Porter, who broke through a pair of Westhampton Beach defenders and scored on what ended up being a 43-yard pass play. After the successful extra point by senior Matt Mandel, the Colts led, 7-0, a little over 10 minutes into the game.

Westhampton Beach got on the board halfway through the second quarter on a great individual effort by senior Jaden AlfanoStJohn. The senior broke through the line of scrimmage untouched and got more than enough for a first down on the play, but he rolled over the back of the defender, never going down, and continued to sprint the rest of the way for the 70-yard touchdown. The extra point by junior Jackson Hulse tied the game at 7-7.

The ’Canes put together a strong drive at the end of the second half, but the Colts stood them up from getting a touchdown, forcing the ’Canes to try a field goal. But Hulse missed the 23-yard try, leaving the game tied at 7-7.

Westhampton Beach came out firing on all cylinders on the opening drive of the second half. Junior quarterback Christian Capuano connected with senior receiver Paul Boutin, who ran a nice stop-and-go route, for a 37-yard pass play, eventually setting up Jaden AlfanoStJohn, who capped the 13-play, 80-yard drive with a 4-yard scamper into the end zone. After Hulse’s extra point, the ’Canes led, 14-7.

Both teams stopped each other from converting on fourth down early in the fourth quarter before Westhampton Beach put together what was its game-winning drive. Capuano hit Hulse on a slant pass, which he took all the way to the Colts’ 2-yard line. On the very next play, Jaden AlfanoStJohn (177 yards on 25 carries) punched the ball in for his third touchdown of the game, and after Hulse’s extra point, the ’Canes led, 21-7, with 6:24 remaining in the game.

The score remained that way for much of the game until the final minute. The ’Canes botched a punt play deep in its own territory, giving the Colts a short field to work with. On the first offensive play of the Colts drive, Westhampton Beach senior Jesse AlfanoStJohn hit Porter as he was throwing the ball, sending a wobbly pass toward the end zone, but it ended up in the hands of senior Chris Pappas for the touchdown. After Mandel’s extra point, Hills West only trailed by a touchdown, and then it recovered the onside kick at midfield, but the ’Canes were able to keep the Colts from ever threatening to tie the game in the final seconds.

Westhampton Beach head coach Bryan Schaumloffel lauded his team for grinding out a tough win, in particular his defense, which held a very potent Hills West offense in check, for the most part. Senior Matt Leotta led the defense with eight tackles, senior Devin Koonmen had seven tackles and Boutin intercepted a tipped pass in the end zone on one of the rare occasions the Colts were able to drive the ball downfield in the second half. He also caught three passes from Capuano for 47 yards. Coffey also had a sack on defense.

“For the second week in a row, I can’t say enough about our defense,” Schaumloffel said. “I thought we had a good defensive game plan coming into the game. Our plan was to run to the football, make secure tackles and no big plays, and they had one big play and a little play at the end. The kids had a great week of practice and once again I’m really proud of them.

“Our offense did enough to win,” he added. “Our offense has been struggling to put points on the board, but they’re getting better each week and they’re doing things when they need to.”

After three tough road games at Hauppauge, Comsewogue and Hills West, the ’Canes return home for their next two games, and they couldn’t be happier to take their home field this Friday night at 6 p.m., but, it will be against a talented East Islip team. The Redmen’s only loss this season came in overtime to Sayville, just like the ’Canes.

“Three weeks on the road, but we’re still grinding,” Boutin said.

“I know the parents want it, I know the community wants it, so we’re going to give them a show,” Coffey added.

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