September 20, 2006

So Far, So Great! Hurricanes Improve To 2-0

Don't call it a comeback, they've been here for years. Just weeks ago, Westhampton Beach varsity football head coach Bill Parry was quoted as saying, "We've had two very good years 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."

Never say the man doesn't speak the truth. Regardless of the fact that the Hurricanes (2-0 in Division III) graduated several significant players including their starting quarterback and running back last spring, Westhampton has kept right on winning, improving its record over the program's last 10 games to 8-2 with a commanding 33-16 win over Eastport/South Manor on the road last Saturday in a game that was over before the end of the first quarter.

The Hurricanes poured on the offense on Saturday, scoring three touchdowns in the opening quarter to take a 20-0 lead into the second quarter. Powered by a merciless ground game, Westhampton moved the ball on the run seemingly at will as running back Paul Dilandro scored off a six-yard run on the Hurricanes opening drive. Sophomore running back A.J. Walker was the next Westhampton rusher to find the end zone, taking a handoff from quarterback Chris Tagliavia and breaking off a 54-yard run to six points. Tagliavia finished the quarter with a one-yard goal line plunge into the Eastport end zone. He also kicked a pair of extra points in the quarter.

Westhampton's defense played superbly, especially in the first half when the Hurricanes didn't allow Eastport to gain a single first down.

The Hurricanes added another score in the second quarter to go up 26-0 when Tagliavia hooked up with junior wide receiver Joe Lenihan on a 33-yard scoring strike. Walker had another big touchdown run in the third quarter with his team in front 26-7, silencing the hometown Eastport fans by running for another 54-yard touchdown. Walker finished with 115 yards on only four carries.

In their opening game of the season on September 9, Westhampton held on to defeat Miller Place 11-10. Last season, the Hurricanes were denied a playoff game despite going 6-2 during the regular season. They were the only team with a 6-2 record that did not qualify for the postseason in 2005.

Up next for Westhampton is a home game against Half Hollow Hills West tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. The Colts (1-1 in Division III) needed overtime to defeat Kings Park 21-15 on Saturday and kicker Jim Norberg kicked the game tying 33-yard field goal in the final minute of regulation.

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