It took a while for Saturday’s high school football game at Wyandanch to get under way because of A.C.T. testing throughout the county, but the half-hour wait proved to be worth it for Bonac fans, as the locals were to triumph 33-12.
It was the third straight win for East Hampton, which began the season at 0-4. The last three games have been, scorewise, almost mirror images of the first ones. As of this week, East Hampton has scored 155 points and has given up 185.
“Of course, the thing to remember is that all of those teams we lost to [Mount Sinai, Greenport, John Glenn, and Center Moriches] are playoff-bound and the ones we’ve beaten [Southampton, Mercy, and now Wyandanch] are not,” said Steve Redlus, Bonac’s coach. “Still, it’s nice to win three in a row.”
This Saturday’s regular season finale here with the undefeated Division IV leader, Babylon, in all likelihood will reverse that trend, though Redlus will be satisfied, he said, “if we show that we deserve to be on the same field with them. . . . Babylon is big, but not just big, they’re very talented. . . . They run a complicated offense and a complicated defense. We’ve told our kids to play individually as if they think they’re worthy to be on Babylon’s team.”
Whether or not East Hampton makes the playoffs will hinge on Saturday’s game between Hampton Bays and Greenport. As of Monday, East Hampton was in eighth place in the power-rated division, with 97.340 points to Hampton Bays’s 97.140. “If Hampton Bays wins, they’ll be in,” said Redlus.
If East Hampton makes it, it will probably be playing a first-round game at Babylon on Nov. 9.
Brendon Hughes, a senior running back and linebacker, had a huge game for the Bonackers at Wyandanch. When the dust had cleared (and there was dust given the somewhat woebegone condition of the grass field), Hughes had returned two kickoffs and an interception for touchdowns.
Hughes shocked the home team and its coaches when he picked up the opening kickoff at the 1-yard line and ran the ball straight up the middle for the remaining 99.
Redlus was almost as amazed as Wyandanch’s staff. “You’re not supposed to let the ball hit the ground,” he said during a conversation Monday. “It’s not a good situation, it’s hard for the guys up front to sustain their blocks. But Brendon found a crease and took it to the house.”
With 35 seconds left until the halftime break, and with his team holding on to a slim 13-6 lead, Hughes did it again, this time from the 5. “The middle! The middle!” the Warriors’ head coach yelled, but to no avail.
Thomas Nelson made sure East Hampton went into the intermission up 20-6 when he leapt to intercept a long pass by Wyandanch’s quarterback, Rafael Serrano, with nine seconds remaining in the second quarter.
Redlus had good things to say about Serrano. “He was elusive, shifty — he was good at finding receivers when he was scrambling.”
As for East Hampton’s offense, Redlus said, “I thought we could have rushed the ball better, the blocking was a bit sloppy. . . .”
Because of Colton Kalbacher’s recent meniscus tear and the academic ineligibility of the talented sophomore running back and linebacker, Jordan Johnson, Redlus has had to move some players around. Nelson, who’s usually a wide receiver, started at running back Saturday, R.J. Notel, who was coming off a career game at Mercy, played free safety for the second week in a row, and a sophomore, Brock Kappel, started at wide receiver and cornerback, finishing with seven tackles and two defended passes.
Nico Ciro, in the temporary absence of Lucas Escobar, who arrived late because he’d been taking the A.C.T.s, kicked the extra point following Hughes’s game-opening dash up the middle.
Others to score for East Hampton that day were Nelson, who, with a little more than four minutes to go in the first quarter, caught in the end zone a 24-yard pass thrown by Cort Heneveld, East Hampton’s senior quarterback; Hughes, who intercepted Serrano at Wyandanch’s 20 yardline on the first play of the fourth quarter and, unmolested, ran it back — a touchdown that effectively nailed the lid down, and Heneveld, who, with 3:54 left to play, made it 33-12 as the result of a 2-yard run on third-and-goal.
Redlus, in reciting some stats, said that Heneveld had rushed for 87 yards on 15 carries and that Notel had rushed for 72 on 11. The only pass Heneveld threw on that windy day was the above-mentioned one to Nelson.
Danny McKee, a linebacker, led the defense with nine tackles, and George Calderon and Notel each had eight.
Game time Saturday is 2 p.m.