It was not written in stone that Mount Sinai, the second-ranked team in Division IV, would defeat ninth-ranked East Hampton, though certainly the odds were against the Bonackers in Saturday’s football season opener here.
Yet, for one shining moment, early in the third quarter, after having played a good first half, East Hampton had the lead, at 14-13, and seemed on the verge of breaking the commandments of the preseason poll.
Alas, not to be. The visitors, who, according to Steve Redlus, East Hampton’s first-year coach, played 11 seniors on both sides of the ball, were to ride the whirlwind in the second half, routing the locals in the end, 41-14.
“We played with the same level of intensity throughout — I thought our kids played their hearts out,” Redlus said afterward. “We just got worn down — they beat us at the line of scrimmage. Their guys have been lifting year round since they’ve been freshmen, and our program has yet to get to that point.”
Though the game ultimately ended in a rout — two Mount Sinai running backs, Mike Cortese, likened by one fan to “a bowling ball,” and Zach Wolfe, a taller slashing type of ball-carrier, each wound up with well more than 200 yards rushing — there were good things, Redlus said.
Among them the senior quarterback Cort Heneveld’s 140 yards rushing and 126 passing yards. The future Naval cadet connected on six of his 14 attempts, and his 68-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter, which wrested the lead for Bonac — however temporarily — was the longest of his seven carries.
East Hampton’s other touchdown was scored by Kelly Kalbacher, a 3-yard plunge that capped a 75-yard drive near the end of the second quarter. Aside from Kalbacher’s TD, that march comprised a 29-yard catch-and-run by Brendan Hughes, an 11-yard reception by Martin Forsberg, and a 32-yard reception by Thomas Nelson, who caught three passes for 76 yards that afternoon.
And Lucas Escobar, who is a member of East Hampton’s defending-county-champion boys soccer team, kicked two extra points, the first, following Kalbacher’s score, from 25 yards out.
There were also some good defensive things. Danny McKee, a linebacker, made eight tackles, one for a loss, and recovered a fumble at East Hampton’s 31-yard line, a turnover that was followed by Heneveld’s electrifying dash into Mount Sinai’s end zone.
Hughes, also a linebacker, had four tackles and forced the fumble that McKee recovered. Another linebacker, Jordan Johnson, had four tackles, including a sack.
“We didn’t have a strong running game — our gains resulted from the triple option that Cort ran,” Redlus acknowledged when this writer said he couldn’t recall any of our backs turning the corner.
“But we’re healthy, and the kids will be stronger because of this — Mount Sinai is one of the best teams in Suffolk County.”
This Saturday’s opponent will be Greenport, the division’s 13th-ranked team. The game is to be played here at 2 p.m.
East Hampton’s 35-man roster comprises 12 seniors, eight juniors, nine sophomores, and six freshmen.