Ten seniors -- Octavio Petrosini, Tenzin Tamang, Ned Roman, Ike Fagin, Daniel Rossano, Aryan Chugh, Will Darrell, Richie Maio, Danny Lester, and Finn Byrnes -- who have been with their coach, Joe McKee, for the past four years, were thanked by him before Saturday's Senior Day game here began for having brought back the program, which he has been trying steadfastly to rebuild.
Also before the game began, there was a moment of silence in memory of the late Alex Koehne, a Pierson student who had played with East Hampton's junior high and junior varsity teams before dying of cancer 15 years ago at the age of 15. His mother, Lisa, gave the team a pregame pep talk, and the players on both sides raised their hands in memory of her son before the fourth quarter began.
The 1-5 Bonackers aren't quite there yet, as that day's 42-7 loss to undefeated Half Hollow Hills West showed, but the junior varsity, McKee said afterward, was 5-1, there'd been a good turnout for the East Hampton Middle School team, and there were 225 kids playing in flag football games he has overseen this fall at East Hampton's Herrick Park.
The 7-0 Colts scored seconds after the opening kickoff as Jesse Brooks, a defensive back, recovered a first-down East Hampton fumble and ran the ball into Bonac's end zone from the 2-yard line. Benjamin Stummer's point-after kick was good for a 7-0 lead.
After East Hampton had been forced to punt from midfield, Hills West scored again as its sophomore quarterback, Joseph Filardi, on third-and-eight from Hills West's 20, connected with Brooks, a wide receiver on offense who, after catching the long, well-thrown pass, shrugged off a defender on his way to the end zone.
With four minutes yet to go in the first quarter, East Hampton had the ball a few yards within the visitors' territory before Filardi intercepted a third-down pass thrown by East Hampton's quarterback, Charlie Corwin, at the 35 and ran down to East Hampton's 15 before being tackled. The Colts' Jalyn Jacques, shaking off a would-be tackler, scored on the next play.
By the end of the first quarter, the visitors led 21-0, and they added three more touchdowns to that lead before halftime -- on a 17-yard pass, a 61-yard catch-and-run, and a 70-yard runback of an interception.
Chugh, East Hampton's senior kicker, who is on a pre-med track, was cited during the halftime break by the radio station 101.7 the Beach, which presented him with a Thomas Cutinella Foundation service award plaque recognizing his work with Stony Brook University Hospital's Dr. Zuzana Zachar, who, he said, was "developing a new way to attack cancer."
With Hills West having made some substitutions, things went better for the Bonackers in the second half. Eddie Cobb, who played well on both sides of the ball, sacked Filardi's replacement, Luca Pipia, in the opening minutes of the third quarter, and Byrnes, who hadn't made much headway in the first half, followed up with 13-yard and 24-yard carries that presented East Hampton with a first-and-10 at Hills West's 29. Byrnes was stopped at the line of scrimmage on first down. Corwin then passed incomplete over the middle for Darrell, but, on third down, Byrnes bulled his way for a first-and-goal at the visitors' 8 just before the third quarter ended.
He made it to the 2 when the fourth quarter began before diving into the end zone on the next play. Chugh, who has missed only two extra-point kicks this season, then split the uprights.
"They're the complete package," McKee said of the Colts afterward. "Their sophomore quarterback is one of the best on Long Island, they've got a strong offensive line, quick backs, excellent receivers.
. . . There's a reason they're 7-0."
East Hampton is to finish the season at 2-4 Eastport-South Manor tomorrow, under the lights at 7.