FOOTBALL: Running Back Says Farewell to Arms

"We knew what they’d do, and we were in position, but their front line dominated our front line.”
How ‘bout them special teams? Johnny Pizzo’s long kickoff runback set up East Hampton’s first score. Jack Graves

    The East Hampton High School football team fell back to earth here Saturday as Shoreham-Wading River, whose Tyler Anderson broke countless tackles in rushing for 328 yards and five touchdowns, won 42-14.
    Anderson, a tall back who averaged almost 30 yards per carry, invariably ran right up the middle, after having made a stutter step, leaving Bonac fans to cry out futilely in his wake, “Stop him! Stop him!”
    Later, when asked how many yards Anderson had gained, a Shoreham coach said, “A million.”
    Anderson got Shoreham on the board with a 47-yard dash into the end zone early in the first quarter, after which the Bonackers launched a drive of their own, getting down to a fourth-and-2 on Shoreham’s 16 before Andre Cherrington was stopped one yard shy of a first down.
    Two downs later, Anderson was off to the races again — a 79-yard carry that left Bill Barbour Jr., East Hampton’s coach, fuming.
    Pete Vaziri most likely would have broken the subsequent kickoff return had he not stumbled at the 50. The offense sputtered there, however, and the first period ended with the Bonackers trailing 14-0.
    By the half it was 35-7, East Hampton’s lone bright spot being the quarterback Cort Heneveld’s pitch to Vaziri, who, from 7 yards out, dived with the ball into the end zone.
    That drive began with a terrific kickoff runback by Johnny Pizzo — let’s hear it again for special teams — to Shoreham’s 28.
    A 22-yard TD run by Anderson and a 29-yard score by Avery Friedman preceded Vaziri’s dash, and an 80-yard unmolested romp by Anderson was to follow before the break.
    Anderson scored his fifth touchdown of the day when the third quarter opened, advancing through flailing arms from Shoreham’s 35 to Bonac’s end zone 65 yards away, after which he returned in triumph to the visitors’ bench for the remainder of the game.
    With the outcome long since assured, Shoreham played its subs in the second half.
    Max Lerner, East Hampton’s sophomore kicker, who took a turn at the quarterback position near game’s end, rewarded the fans who stayed — and perplexed his coaches — when, rather than punt from East Hampton’s 20, as instructed, he took off, zigging and zagging his way into the visitors’ end zone 80 yards away. He then split the uprights for the 42-14 final.
    Afterward, Barbour said, “This game was lost last winter when all of their kids were in the weight room and a handful of ours were. There were no surprises today, there was nothing fancy. We knew what they’d do, and we were in position, but their front line dominated our front line.”
    “We knew what was coming: ‘Blast and Ice’ to the strong side, ‘Blast and Ice’ to the weak side.”
    “It’s bad,” he said, in reply to a question, “when the return team is your highlight. At least we know we don’t have to work a lot with special teams.”
    Undefeated Mount Sinai is to play here Saturday. Recalling that his 2008 team, then 1-5, had toppled undefeated Harborfields in an away game, Barbour said, “It’s high school football — stranger things have happened.”