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Sep 15, 2018 11:24 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Southampton Football Defeats Host Hampton Bays Friday Night, Reclaiming The Mayor's Cup

The Mariners celebrate their win which brought the Mayor's Cup back to Southampton for the first time since 2005. DREW BUDD
Sep 17, 2018 3:47 PM

Throughout Friday night’s game between the Hampton Bays and Southampton/Pierson/Bridgehampton football teams, the Mariners on the sidelines could be heard belting out, “Whose cup? Our cup!”

Although the Mayor’s Cup hasn’t been in Southampton’s grasp since 2005, the Mariners were looking to change that, and they did, defeating the host Baymen, 21-6. The cup has been in circulation throughout the East End for more than 30 years, and Hampton Bays had been able to keep it in its possession since 2010, the first time the cup had been up for grabs since 2005. The Baymen had won the right to keep the cup in their possession in 2012, 2014, 2016 and last season, but had to give it up to the Mariners on Friday night. After the game, Southampton players said it was good for it to be back “home.”

“Hard work really paid off and it had not been home in a long time,” Pierson’s Dimetrius Barranco said of the cup after the game.

“It was just a long week and a hard practice every day,” Southampton’s Naike Williams added. “We worked as a team and we put it on the field.”

It was Williams who got the scoring started on Friday night, when he took a toss from senior quarterback Shawn Stelling to the left side and went 18 yards for the score. The scoring play was set up by a botched Hampton Bays snap on a punt, with the ball sailing over Kevin McNamara’s head, but he recovered it on his team’s 8-yard line. Southampton started its drive with back-to-back penalties before Williams (55 rushing yards on 12 carries) scored his touchdown. The following extra point attempt was no good, but the Mariners held a 6-0 lead late into the first half.

With just under a minute remaining, and the Baymen deep in Southampton territory, quarterback Lucas Brown avoided a sack and threw toward the end zone but into double coverage. Southampton’s Sincere Faggins easily intercepted the pass at the goal line and brought the ball to his team’s 14-yard line. But on the very next play, Southampton opted to put a drive together instead of running out the rest of the clock, and Brown intercepted Stelling’s deep pass that he was able to bring right back to the 17. With 11 seconds remaining in the half, Brown threw another ball up for Jack Gilbert in the end zone. Gilbert was covered but was somehow still able to make the 20-yard reception and score the Baymen’s first touchdown of the season. Quinn Smith tried to take the snap and run the ball in for the two-point conversion but fumbled it, leaving the game knotted up at 6-6 at halftime.

Hampton Bays received the ball to start the second half, but just a few plays into its first drive, Brown was hurried by Bridgehampton’s Elijah White and tossed up a ball that was easily intercepted by Southampton’s Nicere Buck, who took it 36 yards for a touchdown. Williams took a toss and was barely touched for the two-point conversion, and the Mariners led 14-6 with 10:44 remaining in the third quarter.

Stelling, who completed four of his 11 passes for 56 yards, said that a play such as the Baymen’s touchdown at the end of the first half would have put his team down in year’s past. But this year could be different.

“Everybody changed their attitudes. Usually when we go down like that, everyone’s heads are down, but everyone was hyped for this game and came out and did their job,” he said.

Southampton took a commanding lead later in the third when Stelling ran an option play to the right where he tossed the ball to White, who ran for a 29-yard touchdown score. After Pierson’s Hudson Brindle kicked the extra point, the Mariners led 21-6 and never looked back.

“Big team effort right there,” Stelling said after the game. “There was no one person that shined. That was all a team effort.”

After both teams shook hands at midfield, Southampton head coach Bruce Muro handed the tall Mayor’s Cup trophy to longtime assistant coach Eddie West, who has been with the program since well before Muro took over five years ago. West ran it over to the players who rejoiced with it.

“He is Southampton,” Muro said of West. “He’s my brother for life and that’s why I let him take the cup over first. He deserved it more than anything. He’s been waiting just as long as everybody else in this town.”

It was an emotional victory for Southampton, coming off a rough 35-0 to Shoreham/Wading River in the season opener last week at home. But the last time the Mariners won the cup back in 2005 was the last time the program reached the playoffs. Muro is hoping that script continues this season.

“We really felt like we’d be a better team and be able to beat the teams that are below us,” he said. “Hats off to Rich, Coach Doulos. He does a tremendous job with those kids every year and he makes them play. We were the better team today.

“The parents are already telling me it’s amazing and what it means to some of these kids right now,” Muro continued. “I told the kids, ‘there’s always something to play for, and you have to find it in your heart who you’re playing for, what you’re playing for.’ And we definitely saw it on the field tonight.”

Hampton Bays had its season opener scheduled for last week against East Hampton, but since the Bonackers folded their varsity team for the second year in a row, the Baymen received a forfeit and are now 1-1. The Baymen have been hit excruciatingly hard by graduation the past two years and are currently feeling the effects of that with a number of underclassmen making up the team this season. Still, Hampton Bays head coach Rich Doulos was proud of his team’s effort on Friday night, especially from the team’s upperclassmen, namely Quinn Smith (126 rushing yards on 20 carries), Jack Gilbert (two receptions for 26 yards), Kevin McNamara (team-high eight tackles) and Nick Corredor.

“Obviously you wanted a different outcome on the scoreboard. It didn’t work out that way,” he said. “The guys played hard. We knew it was going to be a long, tough game. We have a lot of young guys—and a lot of them got in—and I think the inexperience showed. But I couldn’t be more proud.”

Both teams will get back to work this week to prepare for their upcoming games. Southampton will host Elwood/John Glenn this Friday night at 7 p.m. and Muro, and his players, are hoping Friday night’s win propels them going forward. Hampton Bays, meanwhile, will play Greeport/Mattituck/Southold in Greenport also on Friday night at 6:30 p.m. The Baymen will be looking to turn things around.

“Our seniors are pretty down about it, but at the same time, they kept the cup twice for two years in a row against these guys,” Doulos said. “The young guys will have their opportunity, most likely next year, if not definitely the year after to take it back. I told them to keep their heads up, [and] don’t let the one game sink the ship. We got a lot of learning to do.”

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