It was nearly three weeks earlier the last time McGann-Mercy allowed a touchdown. Back-to-back shutout victories evened the Monarchs’ record going into Thursday night’s Division IV matchup at Hampton Bays.
The Baymen didn’t take long to end the Monarchs’ supremecy on defense. Hampton Bays marched for a touchdown on the first drive of the game under the lights at Hampton Bays High School and never looked back in a 40-6 win to drop the Monarchs to 2-3.
While the Monarchs didn’t allow a point in their two wins, they’ve given up just over 38 a game in their three losses.
“These guys are a physical team,” said Mercy coach Jeff Doroski. “We didn’t match their intensity early. We had game planned and prepared for what we saw, but we got to come out and execute.”
Hampton Bays senior Andrew Morris torched the Mercy defense for 142 yards on 15 carries. He rushed for four of the team’s six touchdowns, the longest a 52-yard run.
It didn’t help that Mercy played most of the game without Pat Stepnoski, their starting halfback who came into the game with a team-leading nine touchdowns. He rolled his left ankle early in the second quarter and did not return. He spent the rest of the game sitting on the bench, and remained there with his leg up even during halftime as the team headed back to the locker room.
Doroski said he didn’t think it would keep him out of next week’s game.
Hampton Bays (2-3) was already in full control by the time Stepnoski came out. Morris scored on a four-yard run two minutes into the second quarter to make it 21-0. On the Monarchs’ first play of their next possession Stepnoski rushed for a two-yard gain. It was his final rush attempt of the game. He only carried four times, but still led the team in rushing yards with 31.
“Losing Stepnoski early hurts us,” Doroski said. “Obviously he’s one of our better players, but we still have to do a better job at the start of games being ready to play.”
Mercy trailed 27-0 before getting on the scoreboard in the final minute before halftime. Quarterback Keith Schroeher ran it in from a yard out for his second rushing touchdown of the season.
The Monarchs got down to the 1 after a 19-yard pass play when Schroeher found tight end Christian Lynch. He had two catches for 39 yards. Schroeher was 3-of-14 passing for 50 yards.
Mercy’s defense allowed 288 yards on the ground, including a 30-yard touchdown run from quarterback Justin Carbone in the second quarter that made it 27-0. Carbone took the snap and ran straight up the gut untouched for the score.
“We can’t play in spurts,” Doroski said. “We can’t play quarters, we can’t play halves. We have to play every play, every game. And we haven’t done that yet.”
Doroski said even in the team’s victories, they haven’t put together a complete game.
“Our second halves against Wyandanch and Southampton weren’t great,” he said. “We have to overcome that and learn how to play a complete game.”
Without Stepnoski on offense the Monarchs relied mostly on freshman Reggie Archer. He carried 17 times. His longest run went for eight yards. He got stopped for a loss on five runs. Junior Paolo Foscolo carried five times.
The Monarchs have their work cut out for them next week when they host Mount Sinai. The Mustangs come into the game off a huge win over previously unbeaten Amityville.
“The goal for us is to try and get better,” Doroski said. “We didn’t compete the way we wanted to compete today. I’m confident these guys will come ready to work next week.”