When it comes to high school football facilities in Suffolk County, there aren’t many that can match Hampton Bays High School.
The school’s sparkling new Doug Oakland Athletic Complex is, well, beautiful. From the shiny field turf to the fine track surrounding it to the modern scoreboard to the brand new bleachers and press box, it’s quite impressive.
One can only imagine what the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats thought of the facility when they arrived at the scene for their opening “home” game on Saturday. Shoreham was officially the home team, wearing its navy blue home uniforms and was even well-represented by its fans in the stands. The Wildcats will play all their games on the road this year while construction work is being done on their new turf field, which they expect to have for next season.
The site of Saturday’s game didn’t seem to matter much to the Wildcats. They appeared to make themselves quite at home in the home of the Baymen. They also seem to have picked up right where they left off last season after winning their first Long Islaand football championship.
Chris Rosati ran for three touchdowns for the second game in a row, Chris Gray ran in two more and the Wildcats posted a second straight shutout, defeating Hampton Bays, 37-0.
Shoreham’s defense conceded only 91 yards of offense (just 19 on the ground). Meanwhile, the bulk of Shoreham’s offense (262 of 306 yards) came from its ground game.
The Wildcats (2-0) put the ball in the air only four times. They didn’t need to throw, not with the way their offensive line was blocking and the way Rosati and Gray were running. The two combined for 152 rushing yards.
The Wildcats, the top-seeded team in Suffolk County Division IV, had taken a 30-0 lead when Dan Mahoney’s 30-yard field goal split the uprights on the last play of the first half.
On Rosati’s first touch of the second half and last of the game, the senior neatly evaded tacklers and dashed 45 yards to the end zone for his third touchdown of the day. His earlier scoring runs came from 7 and 6 yards.
Gray had zigzagged his way 23 yards to open the scoring in the first quarter. In the second quarter, the junior raced 43 yards and down the right side, diving for the pylon and his second touchdown of the game.
Hampton Bays (0-2), at a decided disadvantage, hung tough for as long as it could before Shoreham’s quality enabled the Wildcats to pull away. But the Baymen received strong play on defense from Tyler Carbone (12 tackles, one fumble recovery), Matt Rinaldi (nine tackles, one pass deflection, one blocked extra point) and Travis Flynn (eight tackles).
Photo: Hampton Bays High School, the home of the Wildcats. Not quite, but for one game, Shoreham-Wading River was the official home team in Hampton Bays. (Credit: Bob Liepa)