The East Hampton High School football team has thus far been unable to play a competitive second half with its opponents. Perhaps this Saturday’s under-the-lights homecoming game with Southampton will be different.
The silver Hampton Cup, which commemorates a rivalry that dates to 1923, will be up for grabs, and East Hampton for the past year has been in possession of it, as the result of a 42-7 rout last fall. That score is similar to the ones the Bonackers have been on the short end of so far this season.
At Center Moriches on Saturday it seemed initially as if the 0-4 Bonackers were about to turn the corner. Almost per usual, East Hampton was to score first, Cort Heneveld capping an 80-yard game-opening drive with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Thomas Nelson. Juan Gomez kicked the extra point and East Hampton led 7-0.
Moments later, Nelson came up with a big interception at the Red Devils’ 48, but the team couldn’t take advantage of the break. With a first-and-10 at the 38, a Red Devil defender tipped a nice spiral tossed Nelson’s way at the 10-yard line, after which, with a fourth-and-five from the 33, Heneveld overthrew Brendan Hughes, who had come out of the backfield, at the 20.
The home team, which was quarterbacked by Tyrell Thomas (who would most likely have been playing for East Hampton had not his father, Nick, moved from Bridgehampton to Center Moriches), scored early in the second quarter on a 4-yard rush to even the count.
Later in the period, a Center Moriches interception halted a Bonac drive at the Red Devils’ 21, but a fumble recovery by Axel Alanis, a sophomore linebacker, put the ball back in East Hampton’s hands. With fourth-and-eight at the Center Moriches 34, East Hampton went for it again, but befuddlement in the backfield resulted in a turnover.
There were two minutes left until the half at that point, but the home team, which began with the ball at its 31, made the most of it, with Thomas, who was to gain 158 yards that day on 14 carries, running the ball over with 26 seconds remaining until the break.
Thus the Red Devils carried a 14-7 lead into the locker rooms, a lead they were, primarily because of Thomas’s shifty running, to build on in the second half, winding up as a 35-14 victor. A 35-yard run by Nelson accounted for East Hampton’s touchdown in the second half.
Southampton has one win thus far, over Wyandanch, which is also 1-3 as of this week. The only other winless team in the league is Mercy, which is also 0-4. East Hampton is to play at Mercy on Oct. 19, and at Wyandanch on Oct. 26. And then it’s Babylon (4-0 as of this week) here on Nov. 2.