It's that time of the season – you lose, you go home. For three local teams, the joyride continues.
Last weekend's best game may well have been the epic battle between Mercy and Hampton Bays Saturday. Competing in Suffolk's tough Division IV, Mercy (5-3 in the regular season), the fifth seed, had to contend with a partisan home crowd and an explosive Hampton Bays offense. The Baymen, 6-2, had every reason to be confident – Mercy had inexplicably lost to East Hampton two weeks back, likely costing the North Forkers a home game.
The two teams were locked in a defensive struggle for much of the day. The Monarchs drew first blood, a one-yard plunge by Asaiah Wilson in the second quarter. But Justin Carbone, the Baymen's star quarterback, connected with his favorite receiver, Trey Kennedy, on a 50-yard bomb that knotted the game at 7-7, and it remained that way until the fourth quarter. Wilson scored again from the one to make it 14-7, but Carbone hit Justin Robinson on a 30-yard strike, then coolly found Cody Nolan in the end zone for a two-point conversion to give his team a 15-14 lead.
The Monarchs, their season on the line and time running down, drove down the field. A Thomas Kent eight-yard run set the stage for Wilson's two-point conversion to give Mercy a 22-15 lead.
Hampton Bays, remarkably, came back. Carbone found Kennedy in the end zone on a 30-yard strike with only 90 seconds left in the fray.
The Baymen could have opted for a one-point extra point kick to tie the game – Carbone is an excellent placekicker – but opted to go for the two-point conversion and the win. The locals fell short, stifled by the relentless Mercy defense. For Hampton Bays, the season is over. Mercy plays Babylon, the Number One seed, Saturday.
Babylon (9-0) annihilated East Hampton (3-7), the eighth seed, 55-14, after opening up a 43-7 halftime lead. But the Bonackers were winners, too – the team and fans brought needed supplies to Babylon, which had been ravaged by Hurricane Sandy.
Westhampton is alive in Division III but it wasn't easy. Playing at home Friday night, the Hurricanes (6-3), the third seed, locked horns with Comsewogue (4-5) and neither team budged. In fact, the defensive intensity was such that the two teams finished the game without scoring a single point.
Comsewogue had first crack at scoring in overtime, but it was Westhampton that broke through on a 17-yard scamper by Eric Gagne to seal the deal. The locals play the second seed, Miller Place (8-1), on the road Saturday.
Riverhead, the second seed in Division II, dispatched Whitman 36-13 after opening a 29-6 halftime lead.
Riverhead had its precision offense working Saturday. The quarterback Ryan Blitzer was coolly efficient, going 11-15 for 149 yards and two scores. Blitzer also ran for a TD. Star running back Jeremiah Cheaton bulled his way for 120 yards on 20 carries and scored twice. Whitman, the seventh seed, finished with a 4-5 mark.
The Wave gets West Babylon at home Saturday at 1 PM. West Babylon, the eighth seed, pulled the upset of the year, handing West Islip, the Number One seed, its first loss of the season. The Eagles scored on the last play of the game, to knock the Eagles out of the playoffs in the most dramatic fashion.