It was a cold and unusual atmosphere for the visiting football team at West Babylon Friday, but it’s a night the team won’t soon forget.
There was no music, and a small crowd, but Westhampton Beach let the scoreboard do the talking. The Hurricanes had prepared all summer and throughout the regular season, and they weren’t going to let anyone or anything stand in the way of the result they got October 26. Behind three rushing touchdowns from Jaden AlfanoStJohn and two passing from Clarke Lewis, Westhampton toppled West Babylon 54-14 to complete a second straight undefeated season.
“It put an exclamation point on the regular season,” Lewis said. “It feels great to prove that last year was no fluke.”
The senior quarterback said while his team may have been considered one-dimensional last year, pointing to star running back Dylan Laube, it gave the Hurricanes all the motivation they needed. And with years of working together under their belts, the returners were looking to build their own legacy.
“Last year gave a lot of guys experience in big games, which payed dividends in the long run,” Lewis said. “The biggest difference now is that we have offensive and defensive weapons all over the field. But most of the time our games our won in the trenches with our linemen. The linemen are the ones doing the work up front to control the game and open up the holes.”
They opened plenty for AlfanoStJohn, who ran for 162 yards on just five attempts. He started the game with a 70-yard kickoff return, and the third quarter with an 80-yard run for a score.
“Our coaches do a great job in preparing us each and every week. We spend a lot of time watching film and going over our adjustments and
coverages,” the junior running back and cornerback said. “We have a great line, a great quarterback, a great set of running backs, and our defense has stepped up. We are a very motivated group of athletes.”
Junior middle linebacker Shavar Coffey finished the win with 10 solo tackles and a fumble recovery as part of a defense that’s held opponents to an average 10 points per game. That number is lopsided compared to an offense that’s averaged nearly 39 per game.
“We force turnovers and make big stops,” AlfanoStJohn said. “It’s a been a great ride so far and we are looking forward to an even better finish.”
Westhampton carries a 20-game winning streak into the qualifying round of the Division III playoffs, where the No. 1 Hurricanes will host No. 8 Comsewogue at 6 PM on Friday, November 2. The team, ranked one of the top three in the state, is now vying for its second straight Suffolk County and Long Island titles.
“Every week we get better as team. We mature, we become closer, and we learn from our mistakes,” said senior Liam McIntyre (seven carries for 81 yards and one touchdown Friday night). “Not many people get opportunities like this, so I’m just trying to make the most of it with my brothers. We lifted and did speed training all through the summer, and going into every workout every guy knew he had to put his best effort forward to make up for the loss of the great player and leader that Dylan was. We weren’t going to let the graduation of that class determine the result of our next season, so we just had to work extra hard. Because of that we’ve now locked up back-to-back conference titles, but more importantly we’re moving toward what we’ve fought to achieve. We expect nothing less than this.”