September 27, 2006

Bonac Football Slips To 0-3

"We're struggling a little bit, but our kids played inspired football in the first half. . . and we were in that game," said East Hampton varsity football head coach David MacGarva, commenting on last Thursday's 36-6 loss to Islip at East Hampton High School.

"They could have given up after the second play of the game, but they didn't. They hung tough in the first half and stayed in the game." MacGarva referred to an interception made by Buccaneers defensive back Josh Clarke on the Bonackers (0-3 in Division III) 37-yard line that was returned for a touchdown on the opening possession of the game.

East Hampton cut the Islip (3-0 in Division III) lead to 7-3 after a long 34-yard field goal by Thomas Loncar in the first quarter. The Bonackers continued to play relentless, swarming defense, allowing Loncar to trim the lead to 7-6 after a 25-yard field goal in the second quarter. Tom Butler's one yard touchdown run with 25 seconds remaining in the quarter gave the Buccaneers a 14-6 lead at halftime.

Loncar, the nephew of a former East Hampton High School player who once held the NYS field goal record, was one of several bright spots for East Hampton on the day. He also excelled while handling the Bonackers punting duties after the team's regular punter Mikey Russell was ruled ineligible to play on Thursday. "Thomas really helped us out with our punting game," MacGarva said. "He boomed some punts for us and really stepped up."

Islip outscored East Hampton 22-0 in the second half and 15-0 in the fourth quarter.

"They [the Buccaneers] only really had one legitimate score," said MacGarva. "Our kids played tough, especially in the first half and they hung in there and made some good plays."

Fullback Matt Behan looked impressive running the ball for the Bonackers despite playing the game with a lingering ankle injury. He carried the ball 15 times for 77 yards while running back Joe Quigley added 36 yards on nine carries. Quigley also played a solid defensive game at linebacker, recording seven tackles along with an interception in the first quarter that he returned 18 yards to help set up Loncar's field goal.

Linebacker Jarred Bowe recorded a game-high 10 tackles for East Hampton while the Bonackers defensive tackle tandem of Matt Paul and Theo Marinescu each recorded five tackles.

Other notable Bonackers defensive efforts included defensive end Joe Santacroce forcing a fumble in the first quarter that defensive end teammate Scott Slevinski pounced on for a fumble recovery.

Defensive back Zach Brenneman also recorded a fumble recovery on special teams following a Buccaneers punt in first quarter.

Unfortunately for East Hampton, its schedule doesn't get any easier this week as the Bonackers travel to Rocky Point on Saturday to play the #7 ranked Eagles; a team that improved to 1-2 in Division III this week with a 30-6 victory over Amityville. Rocky Point lost to Huntington in the Division III championship game last season.

East Hampton did get some much needed good news this week when running back/tight end/quarterback Matt Brierley was cleared to play. Brierley returns to varsity action after rehabbing an ACL tear and his offensive skills are a must have for a Bonackers team that has struggled to find the end zone this season (one touchdown in three games).

"They're [Rocky Point] a tough team," MacGarva said. "They run the option very well and their fullback is also a tough runner. They have the experience, which our kids don't have because they're so young. But our kids are working hard and they're playing tough football."

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