The rain may have dampened the evening for some, but it was exactly what Westhampton Beach’s football team was hoping for.
The top-seeded Hurricanes’ three-headed monster got down and dirty and weathered the storm to topple Kings Park 33-9 in the Suffolk County Division III semifinals November 9. The running back trio of Jaden AlfanoStJohn, Liam McIntyre, and Tyler Nolan totaled 331 yards and four touchdowns in Westhampton’s 22nd straight win.
“Kings Park is a great team — has a great offense — and throws the ball really well, so we were hoping some rain and wind would come down,” said McIntyre. “I think people are starting to realize Westhampton’s legit; they’re still on the map.”
McIntyre gained 131 yards on 25 carries, made 11 tackles, had an interception, and scored two touchdowns in the win.
“Trying to tackle Liam for four quarters is a chore,” said head coach Bryan Schaumloffel of his senior. “If we ever know we need something, we’re going to give Liam the ball, he’s going to run hard, and he’s going to punish people for four quarters.”
Westhampton (10-0) got off to a slow start in the first half. McIntyre scored the Hurricanes’ first touchdown on a three-yard run in the first quarter to give his team a 7-6 lead. But a 37-yard field goal by Dylan Squilllacioti gave Kings Park the lead heading into halftime.
It was the first time since Westhampton’s season-opener that the team trailed heading into the locker room.
“There were some nerves,” McIntyre said. “I took the seniors into the back of the locker room and told them we weren’t going to let this be our last game. And we came out firing.”
The Hurricanes stormed out of the gate ready to ground and pound on offense. Two plays into a five-play drive, senior running back Nolan jetted down the left sideline for 60 yards, and junior rusher AlfanoStJohn capped the drive with a five-yard touchdown run to give Westhampton the lead for good. AlfanoStJohn finished with 90 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns.
“We pounded the ball — played physical and tempered the weather,” AlfanoStJohn said. “The offensive line opened holes up for me and I made my cuts.”
“We know we can run down other teams as long as we play our game,” said Nolan, who carried the ball 13 times for 110 yards. “They might be able to hang with us for the first and second quarter, but we weather the storm and get them every time.”
Westhampton will face No. 2 Half Hollow Hills West in the Suffolk County final Saturday, November 17, at Stony Brook University at 4 PM.
McIntyre said it’s just the next step in the team’s goal of proving last year wasn’t a fluke.
“People said we wouldn’t do this, we wouldn’t do that — we just wanted to have a great season and make our own legacy,” McIntyre said. “We’re excited to be back, but I think a lot more of the excitement comes from facing adversity.”