The Drought Is Over

The first win for Bonac football in almost two years
Jordan Johnson and Brandon Johnson combined to knock the ball loose from a Warrior’s grasp at East Hampton’s 18-yard line in the second quarter. The fumble recovery led to Bonac’s first score. Craig Macnaughton

Joe McKee, East Hampton High School’s varsity football coach, credited “the whole team” with Saturday’s 14-12 win here over Wyandanch — the first win for Bonac football in almost two years.

Interestingly, that last win came at Wyandanch, on Oct. 26, 2013. As a result of Saturday’s home, sweet home victory, East Hampton is 1-1.

The Warriors threw everything at the Bonackers when it came to offensive sets, though McKee was happy to say that “we didn’t give up any long touchdown runs — we weren’t fooled, we stayed together.”

A 10-yard pass play put the visitors on the scoreboard three and a half minutes into the game, capping an eight-play drive that began with the recovery of a fumble at midfield.

Axel Alanis, the middle linebacker, who was to lead the team with 10 tackles that day, foiled the 2-point conversion attempt.

A fumble recovery early in the second quarter led to East Hampton’s first score, as well. The shifty Warriors had been on the move at the time, though Jordan Johnson’s hit and his first cousin Brandon Johnson’s recovery of the ball at the 18 proved pivotal.

Two plays later, Jordan Johnson (who was all-county at Hampton Bays last season, after having played here in 2013) hit his taller cousin with a short pass after having received the ball from Brandon Daige, and Brandon Johnson ran all the way up the near sideline for the 79-yard score.

The extra-point play was botched, though the game was tied.

The Bonackers were to score again before the halftime break, having forced a Wyandanch punt into the wind that traveled all of 8 yards. (The visitors had been forced to punt following a Josh King and Burke Gonzalez sack and a holding call.)

Taking over at the visitors’ 40-yard line with a little more than a minute remaining, Brandon Johnson skirted the right side for a first down at the 23.

Daige was hit behind the line there, bringing up second-and-15 from the 28. Again the handoff went to Brandon Johnson, and again he came through, sweeping the right side for East Hampton’s first lead in a long while.

This time the Bonackers made good on the conversion attempt, Jordan Johnson running the ball in for 14-6.

The mood was light when the team emerged from the locker room for the second half.

But the game was not over by any means. The Warriors made good on a fourth-and-goal from East Hampton’s 3 early in the third, though Mikey Perez, a staunch junior linebacker, made what was to be the play of the day as he stopped the ball carrier short of the line on the subsequent 2-point conversion attempt.

“Mikey stopped the kid one-on-one — that was the difference,” McKee said later.

East Hampton drove down to a first-and-goal at the 9 late in the third quarter, and to a first-and-goal at the 10 midway through the fourth, but came up empty both times.

The last couple of minutes were nerve-racking.

“They’ve gotta go 45 yards,” McKee reassured his charges during a timeout with 1:25 on the clock.

Brandon Johnson came up big on the next play, dropping the passer for a 3-yard loss.

An incompletion followed at East Hampton’s 30. Wyandanch then rushed for a first down at the 35.

“Josh, don’t let ’em get outside!” Ed McGintee, one of McKee’s assistants, was heard to say. Moments later, King and Gonzalez again combined, stopping the ball carrier in his tracks.

“I’m going to have a heart attack,” McGintee muttered as he paced the sideline.

Thirty-two seconds remained.

The visitors were to notch another first down, at the 24, with 15 seconds left.

Then came a pass . . . which was caught, though a mass of tacklers arrived in time as time ran out.

McKee was at the receiving end of an overturned ice bucket as he fielded questions from this writer during the postgame celebrating.

Later, he said Brandon Johnson had gained 90 yards rushing and 110 receiving.

Cramping on that afternoon felled more than a few players on both teams. “Most of our guys play on both sides of the ball, and it was very hot,” McKee said by way of explanation.

Two of his charges — Charlie Boure, as the result of a possible concussion during warm-ups, and Harrison Jansen, owing to dehydration severe enough to warrant a trip to Southampton Hospital’s emergency room — had been rendered hors de combat, he said, leaving him with 20.

East Hampton’s junior varsity, whose head coach is Mike Ritsi, lost 32-20 at Shoreham-Wading River that morning, “though we did some great things — we’re absolutely improving,” the coach said.

This Saturday, the Hampton Cup (which has been in East Hampton’s trophy case since 2013) will be up for grabs as the Bonackers play at Southampton. It is the Mariners’ homecoming. The game will start at 1:30 p.m.