Sayville's quick-strike offensive attack is back, Jack. Actually, make that Zach. And John.
John Haggart rushed for three touchdowns and Zach Sirico threw for one and ran for another as Sayville opened its Long Island title defense with a 49-13 win at home over Bellport in the Suffolk III opener Saturday. After scoring a record 78 points in last season's championship game, it's clear that Sayville's offense hasn't skipped a beat.
Latest HS sports stories
"It's all business," Haggart said. "We want to show everyone that this is a new year and we can still get it done, and our offensive line really stepped it up today."
Haggart carried the ball only nine times, but for 144 yards. Sirico, in his first game as starting quarterback after playing running back last season, ran for 71 yards on 12 carries and was 3-for-6 passing for 72 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown strike to James Giattino. Still, Sirico said he was still getting his bearings at his new position.
"I've got to get in the mode of a QB," Sirico said, "and make quicker decisions."
Decisive, just like Haggart's cuts through the Bellport defense. The 215-pound back scored on three of his five first-half touches, including the first two. He went 29 yards off tackle right on Sayville's second offensive play, and 43 yards untouched off left tackle on the third play to make it 14-0. Midway through the third quarter, after Sirico ran it in from 2 yards to cap an 11-play, 69-yard drive that ate up 5:11 and gave the Golden Flashes a 35-0 lead, Haggart and his compadres were relegated to spectators.
"I like to play as much as possible, but it's nice to see everyone get in," Haggart said.
And Sayville's backups scored even faster than the starters. It took them only four plays on their first two drives to amass two touchdowns -- one a 54-yard completion from Donald DeKenipp to Jack Lyons, and the other an 81-yard dash around left end by track standout Chris Belcher.
Justin Tripodi scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns for Bellport, but the Sayville defense held the Clippers to only 74 yards of offense in the first three quarters. Ethan Cooley had two tackles for a loss and a pass deflection for Sayville, and Kevin McCarthy had a fumble recovery on the game's second play. Artyon Szeglin and Connor O'Neil each had a sack, and Brendan Halton made all seven of his extra-point tries.
By virtue of St. Anthony's loss Friday night, Sayville now has Long Island's longest winning streak at 13. But Sirico noted his fumble after a 23-yard run and two dropped passes by his receivers as things that will need to be cleaned up as the season wears on.
Said Golden Flashes coach Rob Hoss: "We don't let our kids get big heads. We keep them in balance. We've got Islip coming in here next week and the two towns don't really like each other, so we know we're gonna get their best punch."