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Nov 11, 2019 9:30 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Westhampton Beach Football Advances To County Semifinals

Westhampton Beach junior Aidan Cassara tries to avoid Hauppauge defenders. CAILIN RILEY
Nov 13, 2019 2:25 PM

Jaden AlfanoStJohn was a bit under the weather heading into his Westhampton Beach football team’s Friday night home playoff game against Hauppauge.

Not that anyone would have noticed.

The senior running back scored four touchdowns, rushed for 303 yards, and also had two interceptions and five tackles on defense to lead his team to a 39-24 win over the Eagles. The Hurricanes, seeded second in the Division III playoff bracket, moved on to the semifinal round. They will host third-seed East Islip on Friday at 6 p.m. The winner of that game will play the winner of top seed Sayville — the only team to beat Westhampton Beach this year — and fourth-seed Kings Park for the Suffolk County Championship on Thursday, November 21, at 7 p.m. at Stony Brook University. Westhampton Beach defeated East Islip, 31-21, at home on October 21 during the regular season.

With five minutes left before halftime, AlfanoStJohn broke off a big run up the right sideline, making it all the way to the Hauppague six-yard line. A few plays later, he scampered into the end zone on a one-yard run, his third touchdown of the game, to put the Hurricanes up for good at 24-18. His team added another strike before the half in what was a 25-point scoring effort in the second quarter when quarterback Christian Capuano completed a 50-yard pass to Paul Boutin with 45 seconds left on the clock. AlfanoStJohn punched in the two-point conversion, giving the Hurricanes a commanding 32-18 lead at the break.

The Eagles did not go away quietly in the third. Danny Mauriello, who ran for 250 yards to lead Hauppauge, scored on a three-yard run, cutting the lead to 32-24 after a failed extra point attempt, and the Eagles defense stepped up as well, holding the Hurricanes scoreless in the frame. Hauppauge threatened to cut the score even further, but AlfanoStJohn came up with a big play on defense, with an interception on a fourth-and-goal pass attempt, nimbly catching a pass that was tipped by teammate Aidan Cumisky. Then, with 8:25 left in the final quarter, AlfanoStJohn struck again, exploding through holes skillfully opened by the Hurricanes offensive line and weaving his way around defenders on a 57-yard run to put his team up, 39-24. He added another interception in the end zone late in the game to preserve the final score.

After the game, AlfanoStJohn gave credit to the Eagles for fighting hard, but said his team responded the way it needed to.

“They came out strong and we came out strong too,” he said. “They definitely had playoff hopes and they gave us a fight. We knew what we had to do. Usually we’re a second half team, but it looked like in the first half we kind of finished business. But they stuck with it and gave us a good game.”

When asked to comment on his own standout performance, AlfanoStJohn admitted he wasn’t feeling his best going into the game, experiencing some achiness and tiredness. He said he simply focused on hydrating, and later added that the playoff mindset and atmosphere can be its own kind of remedy.

“We have our heads up and we’re confident,” he said. “Now we’re getting into the LIC mindset, so we’re just going to keep our heads up and play hard.”

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Ex Mariner wishes you the best...
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Nov 12, 19 10:23 AM