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Nov 9, 2018 9:43 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Westhampton Beach Football Wins Rain-Soaked Semifinal Over Kings Park To Advance To County Championship

Jaden AlfanoStJohn and Shavar Coffey wrap up a Kings Park player. DREW BUDD
Nov 12, 2018 3:45 PM

Kings Park had to put up with a pair of storms in the Suffolk County Division III semifinal—the Hurricane football players of Westhampton Beach and the storm that came through the region on Friday night. Both proved to be too much for the Kingsmen.

Westhampton Beach defeated Kings Park, 33-9, on its rain-soaked home field to advance to its second consecutive Suffolk County Division III Championship, which is this Saturday, November 17, at Stony Brook University. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. and the Canes will face Half Hollow Hills West, which defeated Sayville, 9-0, on Saturday to create a rematch of last year’s county final.

It’s the second time in program history the Hurricanes—who also pushed their win streak to 22 games—have made back-to-back county final appearances since 2011-2012. With the way the weather conditions were on Friday night, the ground-and-pound style of play of Westhampton Beach eventually won out against the air attack of Kings Park.

With the heaviest rain still to come, the Kingsmen were able to move the ball through the air pretty well against the Canes defense in the first half and they actually took a 9-7 lead into halftime after a 37-yard field goal by Dylan Squillacioti made it through the uprights as time expired. It was only the second time this season Westhampton Beach had trailed at halftime, the other being in the season opener at Eastport South Manor. That led to a few long faces for the Canes as they went into the locker room, but the team’s seniors, in particular co-captain Liam McIntyre, put a stop to that.

“We trailed once at halftime all year, and I think that was ESM, so we had a little bit of nerves,” he said. “I had a private talk with all of the seniors in the locker room at halftime. I pulled them in the back. We weren’t going to let this be our last game so we came out firing.”

The Canes, as they have done over and over this season, dominated the second half from the opening whistle behind what was a more steady rain and its three-man running back attack of McIntyre, senior Tyler Nolan and junior Jaden AlfanoStJohn. Nolan ran off a 60-yard run eventually setting up an AlfanoStJohn score that gave the Canes the lead at 13-9 with 10:14 remaining in the third quarter. McIntyre added another score later in the third, and after a successful extra point attempt by sophomore Jackson Hulse, Westhampton Beach led 20-9. AlfanoStJohn and McIntyre each scored in the fourth quarter to make up the final score.

McIntyre finished with 131 yards on 25 carries and the two scores while Nolan finished with 110 yards on 12 carries. AlfanoStJohn just missed the century mark in yards with 90 on 13 carries but he did score twice. McIntyre also had 11 tackles on defense and an interception, and senior Jack Gilbridge also intercepted a pass.

Westhampton Beach head coach Bryan Schaumloffel, who enjoyed his first ice bath as time expired, said his players take pride in being a second half team.

“I think that’s one of our trademarks,” he said. “We pride ourselves being in top condition for the second half of the game. We’re a run-first offense. Each one of our running backs is better than the next, and we got some guys on the bench who are pretty good too. We wore them down.

“Trying to tackle Liam for four quarters is a chore,” Schaumloffel added. “Whenever we know we’re going to need something, we give Liam the ball. He’s going to run hard, he’s going to be hard to tackle and he’s going to punish people for four quarters.”

The Westhampton Beach coaches and players didn’t shy away from the fact that the weather played a large role in the game. In fact, it was part of the game plan.

“This is exactly what we were hoping for all week,” McIntyre said. “Kings Park, they’re a great team and they have a great offense and throw the ball really well, so we were hoping some rain and wind would come down and make them struggle on offense, which it did. It helped out.”

“It’s definitely fun, especially playing a team like Kings Park, because we knew in the back of our heads that they weren’t going to be able to throw as good as they would on a not rainy day,” Nolan added. “But it’s definitely fun sliding around with all of your best friends and teammates and kicking butt out there.”

Westhampton Beach will now prepare for a Hills West team that has only suffered one loss all season, which was to the Canes. The 17-14 outcome was the closest margin of victory for Westhampton Beach this season. The Canes are expecting another tight contest with the Colts but their goals of winning back-to-back county and Long Island championships remain.

“We still have two more to go, but I think people are starting to realize that Westhampton is legit and back on the map,” McIntyre said. “It’s been another great season. I’m really proud of all of the guys and coaches.”

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