Westhampton Beach football’s seniors have lost just three games in their entire playing careers.
The last one may be the most painful. The Hurricanes fell short of their goal of back-to-back Suffolk County titles when they were defeated in a 21-10 upset by No. 2 Half Hollow Hills West at Stony Brook University November 17. The loss also snapped Westhampton’s 22-game win streak.
Despite the loss, head coach Bryan Schaumloffel said he was anything but disappointed in his team.
“We talked about building their legacy, but their legacy was already built,” the coach said fighting back tears. “I’m really proud of our senior class. They’re the greatest senior class in Westhampton Beach football’s history, and we’ve been playing for almost 100 years. Liam McIntyre and Clarke Lewis and the rest of the guys lost three football games in their careers — they’re 33-3. This loss today doesn’t diminish anything that these guys have accomplished.”
The Hurricanes struck first. With 2:22 remaining in the first quarter, Hills West senior Sadiq Hinds muffed a Jackson Hulse punt that senior Aidan Cumisky recovered on the Colts’ 20-yard line, giving the Hurricanes prime field position. After a run by junior Jaden AlfanoStJohn, a facemask penalty pushed the ball up another five yards. Senior Tyler Nolan took the next toss to his left and into the corner of the end zone. Hulse, who kicked the extra point on the touchdown, extended the halftime advantage to 10-0 with a 25-yard field goal.
But that’s all the scoring the Hurricanes could muster. Freshman running back Dakim Griffin broke a pair of tackles en route to a 46-yard touchdown run, and a Justin Brown score that followed gave the Colts the lead for good. In between those two scoring drives, a long run by Nolan gave the Hurricanes the ball on the Colts’ 11. On fourth-and-2 from the 3-yard line, Westhampton considered a field goal, but decided to go for it. AlfanoStJohn was stopped for no gain and Hills West took over on downs.
“There were a bunch of times today where if we make that play it’s a big difference,” Schaumloffel said. “You see what those guys look like. They’re big, and we knew we were going to have to play perfect. We thought we’d have to do something on special teams, which we did, but they play great defense, they made less mistakes, they run to the football and we had our hands full. We didn’t capitalize on all our opportunities, but I’m proud of how our guys played to the end.”
The coach said his 16 seniors have shown the younger players what it takes — especially the dedication in the offseason.
“I tell our guys when they come in as freshmen it doesn’t just happen — they don’t just put on the Hurricanes football uniform and the wins happen,” he said. “These seniors were everything. The leadership — lead by example, lead by being vocal — it’s a special group.”
“It was an honor to play in this program — for these coaches and with these players for the last couple of years,” senior Clarke Lewis said. “What makes the program so special is the people in it. Saying goodbye to the seniors is what makes this hurt every single year, and now it hurts that much more that I’m going to be the one leaving.”
Both he and Liam McIntyre said what’s been the most comforting is knowing the band of brothers they have behind their backs on and off the field.
“This program has meant the world to me these past four years — football itself is something that I’ve been in love with since I was a little kid,” McIntyre said. “So to have a program that would take me in, shelter me like one of its own, because I’m not from Westhampton, and help me grow as a player and as a man and give me a group of guys that I can rely on no matter what is unreal. The past four years have I ever been sitting in the locker room crying about my boys? No. Now that I know it’s over and it’s the end, it’s emotional, upsetting. Everybody says you don’t really know what you have until it’s gone, but I’ll have this team forever, and I’ll never forget these moments. Never.”