Entering Saturday, the recent history of the series between Bayport-Blue Point and Shoreham-Wading River had been lopsided, to put it mildly. The Wildcats had won the past 11 games against the Phantoms by an average margin of 29.7 points.
With that context had come a certain expectation.
"It’s kind of just expected of Bayport to go to Shoreham or for Shoreham to come here (to Bayport-Blue Point), and we just automatically lose," Phantoms senior wide receiver Jameson Smith said.
But this year?
"This year," Smith said with a smile after Bayport-Blue Point’s 34-14 homecoming win in Suffolk IV, "We said, ‘Hell no.’ "
The Phantoms (5-1) set the tone early, with Smith running for a 35-yard touchdown on Bayport-Blue Point’s opening drive, the first of three total touchdowns for Smith.
"Any time Jameson touches the ball he can score," Bayport-Blue Point coach Mike Zafonte said. "He’s one of the best athletes that I’ve coached."
Shoreham-Wading River (5-1) had an immediate answer: senior running back Max Barone’s 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown was a reminder that the defending Long Island Class IV champions would not fade quickly.
"They’ve got a great team over there," Smith said. "But we just came out here and wanted this one. We needed it."
On Bayport-Blue Point’s ensuing possession, junior quarterback Brady Clark threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to junior running back JJ Aiello. A few possessions later, Clark led Smith down the left sideline for a 66-yard score.
"Brady delivered a perfect ball," Smith said.
After taking a 21-14 lead into halftime, the Phantoms went up by 14 late in the third quarter after senior running back Gavin Locascio capped an 84-yard drive with a 41-yard rushing score that featured some key blocks and a few nifty jukes.
Bayport-Blue Point sealed it in the fourth quarter on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Clark to a slanting Smith.
Finally, an 11-game losing streak was put to rest.
"We definitely had that in the back of our minds coming into the game," Clark said. "We knew we hadn’t beat them in a really long time. We just wanted to come out and prove what we could do."
And so the preseason No. 1 seed Phantoms, who fell to Mount Sinai on a late field goal in mid-September, issued something of a statement on their home turf.
"We had that tough loss against Sinai and everyone’s questioning, ‘Are they the one-seed?’" Zafonte said. "I think today we showed them that we’re a contender."