Comsewogue RB Shane Grant had 135 rushing yards on 18...

Comsewogue RB Shane Grant had 135 rushing yards on 18 carries in a game marred by injuries Friday night.

Credit: George A Faella

The ugly side of football overshadowed the opening night of the high school season Friday when two players suffered devastating injuries on the first play from scrimmage.

Comsewogue quarterback Kaeden West threw a long pass down the home sideline to speedy senior wide receiver Nick Zampieron. Smithtown West defensive back Carmelo Pace turned around to locate the ball, and Zampieron adjusted his route and jumped over Pace to knock the ball away and prevent an interception.

Both players hit the ground. Zampieron broke his leg in two places. Pace snapped his right wrist.

The game was stopped for 35 minutes while the players were taken by ambulances to local hospitals.

“I’ve never seen anything like it in my 25 years,” Comsewogue coach Sean Tremblay said. “It was devastating. It made me sick to my stomach. This was Zamp’s first year playing football, and he’s an unbelievable athlete and the best kid. We were so excited to have him in our offense and it ended just like that.”

Zampieron is committed to play baseball at Stony Brook University.

“It’s sickening,” Smithtown West coach Craig Perrino said. “My kids were traumatized. I went out there to console Sean [Tremblay] because I could see he was upset. I didn’t even realize our guy [Pace] was also hurt.”

Pace is committed to Johns Hopkins University to play lacrosse.

Zampieron's mother, Laurie Zampieron, said her son had surgery to repair his broken leg at St. Charles Hospital on Saturday and that he was in recovery and doing well.

Pace needed to be sedated to set the bone at Stony Brook University Hospital late Friday night, according to Perrino, who said surgery was a possibility.

“My assistant uploaded the game film, and we deleted it right away,” Tremblay said. “It was as gruesome as it gets.”

The game was resumed after the long delay.

Comsewogue senior safety/slotback Kevin Schnupp said the team was able to regroup after the injuries and wanted to win the game for Zampieron.

"We were like, 'Let's win this for 'Zamp,' " Schnupp said. “I know the guys were so motivated. He was playing football for the first time and going to be a difference-maker because of his athleticism. It’s terrible.”

Kaeden West  tied a school record with six total touchdowns -- five rushing and one passing -- as Comsewogue outscored Smithtown West, 43-35, in the Suffolk Division III opener. The quarterback ran for 135 yards on 12 carries. 
“He’s a gamer and when Nicky was injured we went away from the passing game and Kaeden and Shane Grant took over on the run,” Tremblay said.

Halfback Shane Grant contributed 135 rushing yards on 18 attempts.

Smithtown West quarterback Brayden Stahl completed 22 of 37 passes for 341 yards and four touchdowns. Wide receiver Jack Melore caught 13 passes for 238 yards and two scores.

“Melore is the best player we’ll see all year,” Tremblay said. “If the ball is anywhere near him, it’s a catch.”

According to Perrino, Smithtown West center Nate Siegal, a college prospect with offers to at least three schools, broke his right leg and fractured bones in his ankle in the fourth quarter.

“It was a rough night for everyone,” Perrino said. “There were devastating injuries.”

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