September 27, 2006

Turnovers are Costly for Hurricanes Westhampton Beach Suffers First Loss

It's been said time and time again by football coaches all around the country and at every level, "turnovers will kill your football team."

So it came as little surprise to Westhampton Beach head varsity football coach Bill Parry that his team, despite performing solidly both offensively and defensively, lost a close 32-29 game to Half Hollow Hills West on Thursday afternoon at Westhampton High School. The Hurricanes (2-1 in Division III) committed a season-high 4 turnovers including 3 fumbles. The Colts (2-1) did not commit a single turnover.

"I thought that they played very hard . . . my kids played with a lot of heart," said Parry. "There were two or three times when they were down and they could have quit, but they didn't. We just turned the ball over way too much."

Westhampton built a 14-6 lead at halftime after touchdown runs from starting quarterback Chris Tagliavia and running back Kyle Hubbard, but easily could have scored several more times if not for three fumbles in the first half. "We probably could have scored a third touchdown [in the first half], if not for the turnovers," Parry said. "That could have really put the game out of reach."

Hills West outscored the Hurricanes 12-0 in the third quarter to take their first lead of the game 18-14 following a 24-yard touchdown pass from Colts quarterback Vin Lancia to Jaquan Carr and a six-yard scoring run by Kevin Hahn.

Westhampton retook the lead 21-18 on a short touchdown run in the fourth quarter only to see Hills West respond with a demoralizing 85-yard touchdown return by Carr on the ensuing kickoff. After the Hurricanes failed to respond with points on their next possession, Carr sealed Westhampton's fate when he took a handoff and ran 23 yards to the end zone to increase the Colts lead to 32-21.

The Hurricanes marched the ball down the field on their final possession of the game, culminating in a 3 yard touchdown pass by Tagliavia to Joe Lenihan. Tagliavia then ran the ball into the end zone on the 2 point conversion. Westhampton, with a minute remaining in the game, attempted an onsides kick that was unsuccessful and Hills West proceeded to run the clock out and end the game.

Tagliavia completed 8 of the 13 passes that he attempted for 98 yards an interception and a touchdown while also running for a touchdown. The Hurricanes moved the ball well on the ground, rushing 46 times for a total of 215 yards with Hubbard leading all players with 65 yards. Lenihan, who caught the late fourth quarter touchdown, had 4 catches for 39 yards. Westhampton's time of possession was nearly double of that of their opponents on Thursday.

Defensively, defensive tackle Matt Weaver had a standout game, leading Westhampton with 9 tackles which included 4 solo and 3 for a loss.

The Hurricanes travel to Amityville (1-1) this Saturday.

"It's a long bus ride and they're [the Warriors] a big team," said Parry. "I'm hoping the kids play as physical and as hard as they did last week without the turnovers."

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