Chris Campbell, the new head coach of the Southampton/Pierson/Bridgehampton football team, said he might look for a mental edge here and there for his team at times, but leading up to Friday night’s season opener at Dorrie Jackson Memorial Field in Greenport, he didn’t need one.
His Mariners were already pumped up heading into the game, looking to turn around an ugly loss they suffered at the Porters’ homecoming about a year ago. During that match, they allowed two long kickoff returns for touchdowns and turned the ball over on multiple occasions. And while they still had a chance to win the game late, only to come up yards short in the 28-23 loss, it basically ended any chances the Mariners had at making the postseason.
The Mariners redeemed themselves and then some this past Friday night, taking a commanding 22-0 lead into the second quarter and going on to the blowout 40-8 victory over Greenport/Mattituck/Southold, earning Campbell his first ever victory as head coach.
There was no hesitation from the players after the game — last season’s loss was certainly on their minds leading up to Friday night and a wrong needed to be righted.
“It feels great having to come back like this,” Pierson junior Hudson Brindle said. “Having everybody behind us with the energy this time was really good.
“Last year, we were close, but we didn’t get it,” Southampton senior Sincere Faggins said. “We just wanted to come in with a good head and not let them do anything crazy.”
Southampton didn’t let the Porters do much of anything the entire first half. In fact, Greeport’s first offensive drive of the game was disrupted so much by the Mariners that the Porters decided to punt the ball on 3rd and 11 from their own 8.
That gave Southampton’s offense a short field on its first drive of the season, which the team capitalized on when Faggins, the team’s new quarterback, kept the ball and ran 15 yards for a touchdown, diving across the goal line with the ball clutched in his outstretched left arm. He also easily scampered in for the two-point conversion to make it 8-0.
Greenport went to punt after its next offensive drive stalled and Brindle came rushing through the line and blocked the ball, one of two blocked punts on the night. Brindle also recovered the ball on Greenport’s 1-yard line, giving Faggins an easy run for the touchdown. After a two-point conversion run from senior Demitrius Barranco, Southampton led, 16-0.
Brindle went on to block his second punt of the game on Greenport’s next drive, and then took a nifty handoff from Faggins 13 yards to the Porters’ 1-yard line, setting up Barranco’s first touchdown of the game. By the end of the first quarter, Southampton led, 22-0, and the rout was on.
“I saw an opening,” Brindle said of his two blocked punts. “I told my buddy Zayden [Michel] to go in with it and I just went for it.”
Greenport was putting together what was its best offensive drive of the game thus far late in the first quarter, but Faggins ripped the ball out of Josh Starzee’s grasp and recovered the loose ball. That led to the Mariners’ next touchdown, a 16-yard run by Seven Faggins, Sincere’s younger brother, who is a junior, early in the second quarter. Senior Dakoda Smith made a nice diving grab in the end zone for the two-point conversion, and the Mariners led 30-0. A safety late in the second quarter gave Southampton a 32-0 commanding lead at the half.
After a 77-yard kickoff return by Smith set up the Mariners deep in Greenport territory, junior Richard Barranco punched the ball in for another score, and after Sincere Faggins added two points, Southampton led 40-0 with 10:04 remaining in the third.
“During the week, we challenged the boys to put up 40 points and give up nothing,” Campbell said. “The defense was upset that they gave up that touchdown and missed that challenge. But all week, and then again right before the game, we challenged them and the guys took it to heart. It’s pretty incredible that they were able to do just that. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
“[Assistant coach] Sean Smith called a perfect defensive game,” he added. “Everything went the way he thought it was.”
Richard Barranco led the team in rushing with 86 yards and he was followed up by Sincere Faggins, who had 77 yards rushing. Demitrius Barranco ran for 49 yards and Seven Faggins finished with 34 yards on the ground.
The defense had a number of players who filled the stat sheet. Brindle blocked the two punts, made three tackles, added a sack and he also intercepted a pass just before the end of the first half. Sophomore Alex Boyd pressured the quarterback that led to Brindle’s interception and he led the defense with seven tackles, many of them coming on special teams where he was, more often than not, the first player to the returner. He also had a sack.
“We were rolling right from the start. Everyone had their head on their shoulders, everyone was focused,” Campbell said. “With Sincere at quarterback, I think a lot of people know about him from special teams, returning punts and kickoffs for touchdowns, and as a lockdown corner. The last couple of years, they just couldn’t get him the ball on offense, so with him being quarterback, he’ll have the ball in his hands every play, and with elusiveness and speed, I’d take him number one right now out of everyone in our division.”
Faggins, and the rest of the Mariners for that matter, will put their renewed confidence to the test when they face top-seeded Shoreham/Wading River for their home opener on September 20 at 7 p.m. The good news is that they’ll have two weeks to prepare for the Wildcats, since they have a bye this week.
Campbell said that he didn’t open the play book that much on Friday night because he didn’t need to. A number of the team’s weapons were not showcased, but it’ll be all hands on deck when Shoreham rolls into town.
“We got on the bus on the way home and the guys were already quiet and their minds were already on Shoreham,” Campbell said. “We’ve got an extra week to prep for them, but we feel like with our line, our elusiveness, our fullbacks, we definitely feel confident and I think we’ll definitely have something to say in this game.”