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Sep 12, 2017 3:15 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Southampton Football Falls In Season Opener To Mercy

A handful of Mariners tackle a Mercy ball carrier. DREW BUDD
Sep 12, 2017 3:34 PM

Southampton football head coach Bruce Muro had said that Friday night’s season opener against Mercy would be a good test for his team early this season.

While the Mariners showed flashes of a team that possesses a number of playmakers, particularly on offense, it’s clear that they still have some work to do.

Southampton lost at home, 21-14, to Mercy, the only team ranked lower than the Mariners this preseason in Division IV. But Mercy, which won only one game last year, showed it has improved.

“We made some real key mistakes, which hurt us throughout the game,” Muro said. “We didn’t execute very well, and it wound up costing us the game.”

Early on, it looked as though Southampton wouldn’t have an issue executing. After stopping Mercy on the game’s opening drive, the Mariners drove down the field and scored, with junior quarterback Shawn Stelling hooking up with senior receiver Micah Snowden on an 18-yard strike in the back of the end zone. After the successful extra point, Southampton led 7-0 and took that lead into the second quarter.

It was in the second when the errors started. Mercy had the ball inside the 20-yard line three times and eventually tied the game. But then Southampton’s Sincere Faggins, who returned a kickoff for a touchdown on the first play of his varsity career last season, struck again, taking a kickoff 78 yards for the score to give Southampton the lead once again, 14-7.

Just before the end of the first half, Mercy punched the ball into the end zone. After Mercy missed the point-after attempt, Southampton was clinging to one-point halftime lead, 14-13.

The offensive success from the first half seemed to elude the Mariners in the second half, as a number of drives stalled. Mercy took a 21-14 lead in the third quarter, and while Southampton had a chance to score in the final seconds of the game, the Monarchs stopped the Mariners from scoring to hold on for the victory.

Muro said there were some bright spots throughout the game. Snowden was a late addition to the team but he showed he can be a dangerous receiving option. Faggins is a threat on special teams, and senior co-captain A.J. Napier Jr. had some strong runs.

Muro said the key is making sure the team improves on a weekly basis, and he thinks it will.

“We missed a couple of receivers, we missed a couple of blocks. It’s small things that alone aren’t a big deal at the time, but they all add up,” he said.

Southampton is scheduled to play Bayport/Blue Point’s homecoming this Saturday at 1 p.m. and is slated to play Greenport/Mattituck/Southold at Greenport High School on Saturday, September 23, at 2 p.m.

When the Mariners return home on Thursday, September 28, they will host cross-town rival Hampton Bays for the Mayor’s Cup. The Baymen took the cup home after last year’s victory in Southampton.

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