August 30, 2006

Westhampton Beach Football Preview New Look Hurricanes Will Rely on Veterans

Last season the Westhampton Beach football team was left scratching its head in disbelief. After going an impressive 6-2 during the regular season, the Hurricanes were shut out of a postseason slot despite winning two of their final three games. And that was without Tyrone Mayorga, the team's star senior running back who did not play in the remaining three games due to a severe back injury.

"It was disappointing," said Westhampton head coach Bill Parry. "We had a very good season and it came down to one game against Kings Park, where we lost by a touchdown late in the game. We've had two very good years [the Hurricanes went 7-1 in 2004] and we graduated a lot of players [last season]. I don't want to call it a rebuilding year because we expect to be very competitive."

Returning co-captain Matt Kissane, a two-year starter, is a talented tight end who also plays defensive end and will be one of the 26 varsity players that Parry will look upon to help lead Westhampton. "Matt's a physical kid, he's one of our captains and I think he's going to be a real solid player for us this season."

Chris Tagliavia, the Hurricanes other co-captain, starts at quarterback and defensive back and will look to hook up with top receiving target Kissane this season. "We're expecting good things from Chris," Parry said. "His brother was our quarterback last year."

"Matt Weiber returns after a terrific 2005 season to play both offensive/defensive tackle and Kevin Benitez is back to play halfback after doing an excellent job replacing the injured Mayorga in the starting lineup. Kevin's gotten bigger and stronger," said Parry.

Perry Craz, another returning starter, is a multi-sport athlete whose speed at both cornerback and wide receiver make him doubly dangerous while Kyle Hubbard, another returning starter, is a two-way threat at running back and cornerback.

Paul Dilandro is also part of what appears to be a deep Westhampton ground game and he'll also start at linebacker. AJ Walker, a sophomore, looks to be a solid addition to the Hurricanes running attack and linebacker corps while junior Joe Lenihan, a wide receiver/ defensive back has drawn praise from Parry due to his recent performance in practice. "Joe and AJ are going to be great additions."

With only 11 returning players to a team that graduated 18 last spring, the Hurricanes know that any major injuries could play a pivotal role in the team's success. "We're still the smallest team in the division enrollment wise and our division is real solid this year, but like I said, I expect to be very competitive," Parry said.

Westhampton opens its season at home on September 8 when it hosts Miller Place at 7 p.m.

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