While the northeast braced for the affects of Hurricane Joaquin, the Southampton/Ross high school football team was hit hard by the Hurricane Monarchs on Friday night.
The Bishop McGann-Mercy Monarchs, who had been beaten in their first two games of the season, won their second straight game, 34-0, over the Mariners, to even their record at 2-2 at the midpoint of their regular season.
Playing in driving rain and wind, both Suffolk County Division IV teams battled the trying weather conditions as much as each other at Southampton High School’s Richard H. Smith Field.
Kevin Santacroce ran for two touchdowns, passed for another, and Sam Schrage made two interceptions in addition to running for a touchdown. Meanwhile, John Viola (10 tackles) and Matt Raynor (eight tackles, one sack) led a defense that held Southampton/Ross to 101 yards of net offense.
The Mariners (0-4) had trouble mounting drives. They failed to convert any of their 11 third-down plays and went 0 for 5 on fourth downs. Five turnovers didn’t help. In addition to Schrage’s two picks, the Monarchs also had an interception by Marco Sciara and fumble recoveries by Liam Martin and Bryan Boden.
The wet football caused both teams trouble. The ball was fumbled over a handful of times, snaps slipped through hands and passes were dropped. Santacroce (6 of 16), who wore gloves, threw for 104 yards, but would have had more if three of his passes were not dropped.
Southampton/Ross was able to complete only one of 10 passes for seven yards.
The Monarchs led, 14-0, at the half. After a snap flew between the hands of Southampton/Ross’ punter, Avory Johnson, the Monarchs gained possession on the Mariners’ 32-yard line. On the next play Santacroce found Sciara along the right sideline for a touchdown. Santacroce followed that up with a 2-point pass to Jack Pavelchak. McGann-Mercy’s next series ended with Santacroce taking the ball in himself, darting untouched around the right end from eight yards out.
Late in the third quarter, Santacroce took a snap under center and kept the ball himself, charging straight ahead for a 43-yard score.
The 20-0 lead looked safe and was padded in the fourth quarter with touchdown runs by Schrage (20 carries, 80 yards) and Joe Jeskie. After Jeskie’s touchdown, Viola ran for the 2-point conversion.
Ed Fontaine of Southampton/Ross ran the ball 25 times for 118 yards.
Photo Caption: Bishop McGann-Mercy’s Sam Schrage uses a stiff arm to ward off Southampton/Ross’ Avory Johnson after catching a pass in the second half. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)