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Football: Monarchs come back to prevail in high-scoring affair

Sam Schrage crosses the goal line for Bishop McGann-Mercy's game-clinching touchdown against East Hampton/Bridgehampton. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)
Sam Schrage crosses the goal line for Bishop McGann-Mercy’s game-clinching touchdown against East Hampton/Bridgehampton. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

The Bishop McGann-Mercy High School football team came out playing great ball for its homecoming crowd on Saturday. The Monarchs struck for four touchdowns in less than six minutes, the last one to come from behind and defeat East Hampton/Bridgehampton, 40-38.

Sam Schrage’s 15-yard touchdown run with 40.1 seconds left to play lifted the Monarchs (3-2 in Suffolk County Division IV) to the come-from-behind victory.

It was an important game for the Monarchs in their quest to qualify for the playoffs.

“We can’t afford, moving forward, to make mental mistakes like we did,” Monarchs coach Jeff Doroski said. “We have to learn from this and get better and move ahead.”

Looking ahead to the last three games of the regular season, Doroski said: “We’ve got three games left and they are tough ones. Center Moriches is right in the playoff picture. Babylon is a perennial power, and we finish up with Greenport, who is always tough. We have to get better this week and develop a better game and game plan.”

The first half of the game was exciting for McGann-Mercy as it scored three touchdowns while only having the ball for 5 minutes 12 seconds. The first two times the Monarchs handled the ball, they scored. The third scoring drive took four plays after an interception by Nick Kneski gave McGann-Mercy the ball on East Hampton’s 35-yard line.

The second half was a struggle. After McGann-Mercy scored on an 11-play effort to go up, 28-14, East Hampton (2-4) came back twice to take the lead, scoring twice on 2-point conversions after touchdowns as well.

With seven minutes left in the game, Schrage scored 5-yard run to put his side up, 34-30.

On the ensuing kickoff, East Hampton’s Brandon Johnson ran the ball back to the Mercy 39. Seven plays later, the Bonackers scored to go up, 38-34.

With 1:10 left, McGann-Mercy’s Nick Kneski took the kickoff return to his own 48. After an incomplete pass, Kevin Santacroce connected on a 23-yarder to Jack Pavelchak. On the next play, an East Hampton player nearly intercepted the ball on the 2. When the umpire ruled the play an incompletion, not an interception, the player threw his helmet to the ground, incurring a 15-yard penalty.

On the ensuing play from the 15. Schrage ran the ball in for the final touchdown and a 40-38 lead. An attempt for 2 points failed.

After that, East Hampton managed three plays, the last of which was a sack of Brandon Johnson.