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Nov 10, 2009 10:54 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Baymen fall to Mt. Sinai in playoffs

Nov 10, 2009 10:54 AM

The Hampton Bays football team’s miraculous turn around season came to an end with a heartbreaking 34-16 loss to Mt. Sinai in the first round of the Division IV playoffs at home on Saturday.

After two months of football, the Baymen walked into their biggest challenge down eight players, who were suspended for violating team rules. But the remaining 17 boys gave everything they had, playing both sides of the ball and filling positions they’d never played before.

“You’ve done everything right,” head coach Mike Oestreicher said to his players in an emotional post-game speech. “You got us back someplace we weren’t,” he added, pointing out that the team had a 1-7 record just one year ago. “You did something amazing,” Oestreicher said. “Hold your heads high.”

The loss may have stung a little less if the team was playing at full strength, but the young men who made it to the field had a lot to be upset about.

Hours after beating Shoreham/Wading River in their last regular season game last Saturday, and just hours after their coach implored them to make good decisions that night, eight players decided to engage in some Halloween mischief and it cost them their jerseys. All the boys were suspended from the team for throwing eggs at a local home, an act in opposition of the Baymen code of conduct.

Oestreicher said the players’ behavior was detrimental to the team and embarrassing to the school. He finalized his decision to remove them from Saturday’s game on Tuesday. “It was tremendously difficult, but it was the right thing,” he said, refusing to comment further. “I’m not focused on the ones who do wrong, I’m focused on the ones who do right,” Oestreicher said.

Hampton Bays still had its top players, including junior quarterback Robbie King and seniors John Havens, Oskar Ramirez and Aaron Besch. The guys battled the odds and took the lead before the half, but the Mustangs came back with a devastating 27-point run in the third quarter and dashed all hopes for victory.

Mt. Sinai ran in a 47-yard touchdown, scored the extra point and took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. The Baymen made a good first attempt to score in the second quarter, but lost the ball on downs on Mt. Sinai’s 25-yard line. The guys stood tough and forced the Mustangs to punt, but not before senior Ben Tarpey and Ramirez got a third down sack for a 9-yard loss.

Havens caught the punt at the Hampton Bays 44-yard line and then King eluded tackles and immediately picked up another first down at the Mustangs’ 37-yard line to begin the Baymen’s first successful drive of the day. Ramirez gained another 4 yards before King ran right and fired a pass to Havens for a first down at the 19-yard line. Besch advanced 3 yards and Ramirez lost 2 before Havens got hold of the ball on the third down and charged in an 18-yard touchdown, outrunning four Mustangs defenders and just making it into the left side of the end zone.

Without a solid kicker playing on Saturday, King and senior wide receiver Nolan Leeman put together a two-point conversion to take an 8-7 lead before halftime. Oestreicher said Leeman was injured or benched for most of the season, but he had the opportunity to shine and he took it on Saturday.

The Mustangs came out determined in the third quarter. They ran in a 13-yard touchdown and scored the extra point with 8:27 left.

Mt. Sinai kicked the ball into the end zone, and Hampton Bays began forging ahead at the 20-yard line. The guys only managed to lose a yard in the next three downs and then botched a punt. Senior Elija Hanks bobbled the ball, recovered and managed to run it back near the Baymen 13 before he went down. Following the messy turnover, the Mustangs steamrolled everyone in their path and scored their second touchdown in less than two minutes. After another successful kick, Mt. Sinai jumped to a 21-8 lead, but they weren’t quite done.

Hampton Bays put together a few plays and moved the ball in its next drive, but King fumbled and Mt. Sinai recovered at the 44-yard line in Baymen territory. The Mustangs earned three successive first downs and scored after the ball was stopped within inches of the goal line. They hammered in another extra point and extended their lead to 28-8 with a minute left in the third quarter.

In a final blow to Hampton Bays, Mt. Sinai recovered another fumble, gained 15 yards on a personal foul against the Baymen and finally ran in a 20-yard touchdown with 12 seconds left in the third quarter. The Mustangs showed mercy and opted out of the extra point before finishing the quarter ahead, 34-8.

The Baymen’s morale was clearly of the verge of shattering following a difficult week and brutal quarter, but Oestreicher instructed his players to finish the game as warriors. “Don’t run and hide, stand there and fight,” he said.

King, Havens and Ramirez each got first downs and the team moved the chains again on a face mask penalty against Mt. Sinai. Ramirez picked up another eight yards, putting the ball within 10 yards of the Mustangs goal and he began another set of downs 1 yard outside the end zone. The senior scored his last career touchdown at the 8:28 mark in the fourth quarter and senior Perri Gitto ran in the two-point conversion for a final score of 34-16.

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Throwing those kids off the team for throwing eggs on halloween was unfair to those kids and their team. That prank had absolutely nothing to do with school. It was off school property, after school hours, no criminal charges made. Non-school matter absolutely. Total over-reaction, and those kids suffered much more than anybody realizes. And their teamates.
By Non-Political (118), Hampton Bays on Nov 10, 09 2:49 PM
1 member liked this comment
This punishment was an overreaction! More than football players were involved and these other students have yet to be punished. The coach and administrations decision to remove the players from the team was supposedly because the act was considered an embarassment to the team. No-one would have known of this prank if the adminstration hadn't kicked the players off the team, and now the administration has publicly embarassed themselves, the entire football team as well as the community. The incident ...more
By SweetSwell (2), Hampton Bays on Nov 10, 09 5:22 PM
Whats more important, football or teaching these kids that their actions have consequences? It sucks for the team but maybe now the kids involved will see that what they do not only effects them but people around them too. It bewilders me that people say the school over reacted. What line do they need to cross before you feel it isn't over reacting? A felony?
By BigL11946 (29), Hampton Bays on Nov 12, 09 3:22 PM
Chicos portense BIEN este juego es en el campo y fuera de el.....
By polito (14), wainscott on Nov 12, 09 9:06 PM
The Hampton Classic, Horse Show, Bridgehampton