October 25, 2006

Mustangs' Victory Drops Southampton to 2-4

Last week, after a convincing 30-14 win over Stony Brook on the road, Southampton head coach Darren Phillips stressed how important it was for his team to continue to cut down on the turnovers that have plagued the Mariners at various times this season.

He also pointed out that his team would have to continue to win if Southampton hoped to keep its playoff hopes alive.

Unfortunately for the Mariners, no one relayed that information to Mt. Sinai, which ran its undefeated record up to 6-0 with a 28-8 victory over the Mariners on Saturday afternoon at Southampton High School. Capitalizing on a crucial turnover that played a major factor in the game, the Mustangs (6-0 in Division IV) wasted little time in showing the Southampton crowd, which was sufficiently larger than usual due to the Mariners' homecoming, why they're one of only five undefeated teams in Suffolk County.

Tyler McCabe returned the opening kickoff of the game 77 yards to Southampton's 5-yard line and two plays later, Mt. Sinai's quarterback Sean Kelly ran the ball into the end zone from two yards out to give the Mustangs a 6-0 lead. That lead quickly became 8-0 after a successful two-point conversion pass. Southampton was already trailing 8-0 and only one minute had ticked off the game clock.

Southampton (2-4 in Division IV) trailed 15-0 early in the second quarter after a Mt. Sinai drive, highlighted by several punishing runs from star back Stephen Yablonski (20 carries for 120 yards), resulted in another two-yard touchdown plunge by Kelly.

The game took a serious turn for the worse for the Mariners when their star quarterback Zach Antilety, arguably the top passer in Suffolk County, was intercepted at the Mustangs' five yard line by Jimmy Wittpenn, who then proceeded to return the turnover 95 yards for a touchdown as Mt. Sinai took a 21-0 lead.

Wittpenn, playing defensive back, grabbed the interception on the last play of the first half and when he reached Southampton's end zone, all of the energy displayed by the home crowd seemed to instantly disappear. Both the game and the Mariners chances at a repeat appearance in the postseason were quickly slipping away.

Wittpenn helped the Mustangs take a 28-0 lead six minutes into the second half via a two-yard touchdown run before Antilety found wide receiver Jason Halsey open for a 24-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. It was Antilety's tenth scoring pass of the season.

Southampton hosts Bayport-Blue Point (2-4) Saturday at 2 p.m. before finishing the season at home against Port Jefferson (4-2). With Babylon (6-0) and Mt. Sinai both clinching playoff spots and Shoreham-Wading River (4-2) and John Glenn (4-2), each having defeated the Mariners this season, Southampton was officially eliminated from postseason contention with Saturday's loss.

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