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Nov 6, 2019 10:22 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Hampton Bays Football Is Headed Back To Postseason After Two Year Absence

Nov 6, 2019 10:22 AM

The Hampton Bays football team is headed back to the Suffolk County Division IV postseason.

The Baymen finished the season with a 3-5 record and their 93.45 power points were enough to grab the eighth and final spot. Their opening round game won't be easy though — they have to travel to top-seeded and undefeated Mount Sinai this Friday night at 6.

Hampton Bays was assured the postseason berth when Southampton/Pierson/Bridgehampton was forced to forfeit its final game of the regular season against Port Jefferson last week due to low numbers. A victory by the Mariners over the playoff-bound Royals, which would have been an upset, would have garnered them the final postseason spot and broken their 14-year absence from the playoffs.

Hampton Bays head coach Rich Doulos was unsure in the final weeks of the season that his team was going to make it, simply due to the unknown factors within the power-point system. But coming into the season seeded 10th out of 11 teams in the division, the Baymen did what they needed to do by defeating Southampton, Wyandanch and Greenport/Southold/Mattituck, all rather handily, to put themselves back into the postseason conversation after losing their first four games. Almost the exact situation played out the last time Hampton Bays made the postseason, back in 2016, when it needed an overtime victory over Bayport/Blue Point to finish the season 3-5 and get in as the final team.

After learning of Southampton's upcoming forfeit on Friday, and confirming with county officials that his team was in, Doulos informed his players that they would be going back to the postseason.

"It is a big deal" that his team got in, he said. "It's a goal we set out at beginning of the year during the summer and I know the kids were excited. At one of the first practices I put varsity kids out to the left, JV kids to the right, and we had 30 kids, which is something we didn’t have the past two years. Kids like Nick [Corredor], Lucas [Brown] and Quinn [Smith] were not used to having that many kids on the team and they were like, this is going to be great.

"Going 0-4 to start the season was not really the game plan, and things could have gone either way at that point, but the kids showed up, had no excuses, and as a coaching staff we changed some things. The o-line doesn’t play defense anymore, they're fresh. So it is a big deal for the program to get back to the playoffs after being absent for two years. We didn't want to have that snowball effect where you just continue to not make it. Now, we are 3-5 so let's not jump for joy, but it's certainly a positive when we're beating teams that we know we can consistently. Now we just need to start beating some of these power teams."

The last game of the regular season for Hampton Bays was actually played at Mount Sinai on October 25. The Baymen had a bye their final week and Doulos said it couldn't have came at a better time with a number of his players catching the flu bug last week.

But Doulos said that he thought his team stood up well against the Mustangs a few weeks ago. It was only 7-0 at the end of the first and he thought it should have been 14-0 at halftime, but a roughing the kicker penalty, which Doulos thought was a little excessive, gave Mount Sinai the ball deep in Hampton Bays territory and it scored right before the end of the half to make it 21-0. That kind of deflated the Baymen's sails a bit, Doulos said, and the Mustangs came right out of the locker room and scored again and went on to win 35-0.

"I expect everyone to be back fully healthy and committed to playing in playoff games, especially the seniors, who could be playing in one of their last football games," Doulos said. "We saw them, I thought we played them very tough, and I look forward to doing our best to try and take down number one seed."

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