The Southampton/Pierson/Bridgehampton football team had all intentions of pulling off what would have been one of the biggest upsets Suffolk County had seen in quite some time by defeating top-seeded Shoreham/Wading River in its home opener on Friday night, and through most of the first quarter, with the game scoreless, it looked as if the Mariners were, at the very least, going to make it a game.
But on the first play of Southampton’s second offensive drive of the game, Southampton senior quarterback Sincere Faggins, a huge part of the Mariners game plan on both sides of the ball, took a nasty blindside hit and suffered what is thought to be either a sprained throwing shoulder or arm. The hit itself, and Faggins’s initial reaction to it, made it seem as if he would miss not only the rest of the game but multiple games. However, Southampton head coach Chris Campbell said on Sunday that Faggins is expected to miss only one game and should be back in time to face cross-town rival Hampton Bays for the Mayor’s Cup in two weeks.
That was possibly the best news that came out of Friday night’s game, which ended up being a 49-0 loss to Shoreham. The injury to Faggins was the first of a very long list of health concerns for the Mariners. Senior Billy Hattrick came into Friday’s game with a fractured thumb and decided to play with a soft cast. In the second quarter, Hattrick suffered what is thought to be a fractured wrist, and he is out indefinitely, according to Campbell.
Hattrick battled Faggins in preseason camp for the starting quarterback position. When Faggins was named the starter, Hattrick was moved to the defensive line, where he was expected to play a big role as nose tackle against Shoreham, and, if need be, be the backup to Faggins under center.
With both Faggins and Hattrick out of the game, the Mariners turned to senior Dakoda Smith, the team’s top receiver, who hadn’t taken one snap as quarterback, in practice or a game, this season.
“Dakoda is a good enough athlete and team player where I thought we could put him there and he jumped right in as soon as Sini went down,” Campbell said. “He stuck it out the rest of the game as our quarterback and he took a pounding as a well and he got the game ball for that and he may even earn a postseason award for that. For someone who had never taken a snap before that night, I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone do that before.”
Pierson senior fullback/linebacker Demitris Barranco suffered what looked like a big injury late the first half, but it ended up being just a severe leg cramp. He tried to come back late in the game but had no real full range of motion with the affected leg and was forced to sit out most of the game. His younger brother, junior Richard Barranco, also took some hard hits and missed time, as did fellow Pierson junior Hudson Brindle and Southampton freshman Zayden Michel.
Taking that many injuries to key players at key positions is tough for any team to overcome, but when it’s against the first place team that has outscored its opponents by an average of nearly 42 points through the first three games of the season, it makes it virtually impossible.
“It was the worst time,” Campbell said, to come down with those injuries. “We wanted to definitely stay competitive and be in the game to a certain point, if not have a lead. We thought we could definitely score on them for sure. We felt comfortable on that side of the ball. We thought it would be a high-scoring game, but that’s the thing, you can never count on these injuries. They can come up at any time and they rolled up on us in abundance in that first half.”
Shoreham senior Xavier Arline scored five touchdowns and rushed for 231 yards on 19 carries as the Wildcats signal caller. He broke free for a 55-yard touchdown, his longest of the night, in the second quarter to give the Wildcats a 29-0 advantage.
Besides Arline, Campbell thought his team, when healthy, matched up well with Shoreham, which wasn’t much physically superior, nor did it have the numbers that it usually has.
“We had a game plan. We thought we scouted them very well and had a good idea of what they were able to do and what we wanted to do, and it was working in the first quarter,” he said. “Most teams they’ve played this preseason and the first couple of games, they’re almost immediately down, but to only be down, 7-0, after the first quarter, we still felt confident, even after the injury to Sincere. But after the other injuries everything kind of went out the window.
“It was definitely a rougher game than we thought it was going to be,” Campbell added.
Campbell is hoping his team heeds his warning not to harp on the loss to Shoreham too much.
“I told them, ‘I want this out of our system right now. Go into the locker room, think about what you did — because there were a couple of guys who were down about it — and get this out of your mind. We’re just 1-1, we’re right in the middle of it all and our season is not over.”
While the majority of the team will be back for this Saturday’s game at Wyandanch, which is supposed to start at 2 p.m., Campbell will have to figure out who will be quarterback for his team with Faggins and Hattrick out. His initial thought was to have Smith back under center but he wanted to converse with Smith and his coaching staff first about it. Seven Faggins, Sincere’s younger brother, a junior, missed Friday night’s game due to a severely jammed finger. Campbell was expecting to have him at Wyandanch, which would give him another weapon on offense and another reason for him to use Smith as quarterback.