November 08, 2006

Epley Breaks School Record in Mariners' Win

Independent / Jessica Mackin Southampton didn't drop the ball in its 34-20 win over Port Jefferson on Saturday. (click for larger version)
Southampton senior Nick Epley made sports headlines long before he set foot on a field this fall after it was learned that the strong-legged kicker would be pulling double duty at times, playing both varsity football and soccer.

And although neither team was able to qualify for the playoffs this season, Epley put a defining exclamation point on a stellar high school career Saturday when he shattered a school record in his final football game.

Epley kicked a 49-yard field goal with no time remaining in the first half to put the Mariners in front of Port Jefferson 20-13 and Southampton cruised to a 34-20 win. The colossal kick eclipsed the school's previous record, which ironically was set by Zach Epley, Nick's older brother, who currently starts at kicker for Division III Union College. Zach's record kick of 42-yards occurred last season, a season that saw the Mariners go 8-2 on their way to a Division IV championship game appearance.

When Nick Epley wasn't kicking big field goals (he also knocked a 30-yard kick through the uprights to open the scoring in the first quarter), Mariners quarterback Zach Antilety was slicing through the Royals' passing defense, completing 13 of his 20 pass attempts for 154 yards and three touchdowns. Antilety leads all Division IV passers with a season-high 14 touchdown passes.

Sean Dillon completed Southampton's offensive dominance on Saturday by rushing six times for 69 yards and catching three passes for 36 yards.

One of Dillon's runs went for a nine-yard touchdown in the second quarter, cutting Port Jefferson's lead to 13-10 following Epley's extra-point kick. On the Mariners (4-4 in Division IV) next possession Dillon hauled in an 11-yard touchdown reception to put Southampton in front for good 17-13 and he added a five-yard scoring catch in the third quarter.

Dillon also pulled double duty as the defensive star of the game, making a career-high three interceptions against a Port Jefferson team (5-3) that lost for only the third time this season.

The Mariners will travel to East Hampton Saturday to participate in the historic battle for the Hampton Cup, a rivalry that dates back to the 1920s. The last time that the two schools played each other was in the fall of 1992. The Bonackers struggled at times this season, going 1-7 in Division III although their solid defensive play kept many of the scores close.

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