Down a handful of players due to injuries, the Southampton/Pierson/Bridgehampton football team has enlisted Dakoda Smith as its new Swiss Army knife.
The Southampton senior did a little bit of everything on Saturday afternoon, leading the shorthanded Mariners to a 16-14 victory at Wyandanch. Smith accounted for 10 of Southampton’s 16 points, returning an interception for a touchdown in the first quarter, and throwing for and running in two-point conversions as the team’s starting quarterback. He also had nine tackles, forced a fumble and intercepted a potential two-point conversion while also handling the team’s punting duties.
With senior quarterback/cornerback Sincere Faggins out due to a shoulder injury he suffered in the loss to Shoreham/Wading River, and backup senior quarterback Billy Hattrick also nursing an injury, Smith has had to take on a much larger role the past few weeks. Southampton head coach Chris Campbell said Smith has “meant everything” to the team so far this season.
“He’s throwing the ball, running the ball. He’s our lead captain, and we even switched it a bit this week where he could go to the line and had him make more of a decision because he’s gotten that much more comfortable at the quarterback position,” he explained. “I’m proud of him, the whole team is proud of him. He comes from a great family. I don’t expect anything less from him. He’s a smart football player.
“Coming into the year, we had no idea something like this with all the injuries would happen,” Campbell added. “But if we had to put it all on one guy, it would be Dakoda Smith. He’s an elite athlete.”
Smith, who came into the season expecting to be the team’s wide receiver and defensive back, said the most challenging thing has been getting comfortable as quarterback — but it’s getting better and better.
“I’m getting the hang of it,” he said. “The toughest part is the footwork, but also getting used to all of the plays and the different speeds of all the players.”
Directly after turning the ball over to Wyandanch on downs late in the first quarter, Smith picked off a pass and ran it back into the end zone 32 yards for Southampton’s first touchdown of the day. He found junior Seven Faggins in the back of the end zone for the ensuing two-point conversion to make it 8-0 with 1:06 remaining in the first.
With 1:39 remaining in the second quarter, Wyandanch scooped up a fumble on Southampton’s 16-yard line, and a few plays later, Ra’Shawn Malloy rumbled his way into the end zone to make it an 8-6 game at halftime.
Early in the third quarter, Wyandanch was set to punt the ball, but the Wyandanch punter fumbled the snap. He recovered the ball cleanly, but Southampton sophomore Alex Boyd was there to tackle him for a big loss on the Warriors 8-yard line, giving the Mariners a short field to work for their second touchdown of the day. Smith hit Seven Faggins on a quick pass play to the 3-yard line before Pierson senior Dimitrius Barranco plowed his way across the goal line for a touchdown midway through the third quarter, and after Smith ran in the two-point conversion, Southampton led, 14-6.
Wyandanch faced a 4th and 2 from Southampton’s 14-yard line with 1:54 remaining in the third, and after both teams called timeouts to set up for the play, Malloy ran the ball into the end zone basically untouched, and after a successful two-point conversion, Southampton led by two at 16-14.
The Mariners ran the clock out in the fourth quarter, handing the ball off to their fullback in Dimitrius Barranco multiple times to ensure the team its victory. The win improved Southampton to 2-1 in Division IV on the season.
“We had to grind that one out, even more so this week coming off of that tough one to Shoreham,” Campbell said. “We did a pretty good job scouting them, and we thought we had a great idea of how to pretty much stop them. We had a couple of broken plays and our pursuit wasn’t the best, but we had to grind it out.”
Pierson junior captain Hudson Brindle led the defense with 12 tackles, a fumble recovery and an interception.
Southampton didn’t get great news last week regarding Sincere Faggins’s shoulder injury, but he was due for more tests this week and the team should have a more clear picture of what a potential timeline could be for his return soon. Campbell said Hattrick could be returning in a couple of weeks and Pierson junior Richard Barranco missed Saturday’s game due to a concussion he suffered against Shoreham and was still in concussion protocol.
There is a chance that the Mariners will have to do without all three players in this week’s big game at crosstown rival Hampton Bays for the Mayor’s Cup on Friday night at 7 p.m. Campbell is hoping to have them back during the team’s three-game homestand, which begins next week against Center Moriches on October 11 at 7 p.m.
“We’re a bunch of grinders this year,” Campbell said. “They’re not giving up. They continue to give 110 percent in practice every day and in games.”