Westhampton’s Dylan Laube is a well-known playmaker.
After scoring 40 touchdowns as a junior, he opened his senior season with four TDs, including two in the final 5:14, in Friday night’s season-opening 42-38 victory over Bellport. But it was his final contribution that everyone will remember, and it had nothing to do with his ability to run with the football.
After Laube’s 1-yard scoring run gave Westhampton a four-point lead with 1:54 left, Bellport quarterback Devin Trent engineered a 73-yard drive to the Hurricanes’ 3 with 13 seconds left.
“The only thing that matters is the win,” said Laube, whose team had trailed by 17 in the fourth quarter. “We had to stop them or the comeback would mean nothing.”
On the final snap, Laube blitzed through the Bellport front and disrupted the play as Devin Trent bobbled the snap and handed awkwardly to twin brother DJ Trent. Laube tackled him for a loss of 3 yards to seal the Suffolk Division III victory before more than 1,400 in Westhampton.
“I saw his eyes and I knew where the ball was going,” said Laube, who rushed for 262 yards on 29 carries. “I gambled on the blitz and it worked out. Making that tackle was as good as any touchdown run.”
Westhampton erased a 38-21 fourth-quarter deficit with 21 unanswered points. Tyler Nolan started the comeback with a 62-yard touchdown run and Laube added 2- and 1-yard TD runs.
“Dylan’s a warrior,” said coach Bill Parry, who earned the 100th victory of his 21-year career at Westhampton. “He was cramping up the entire second half and continued to go out there and lead us. He’s the best football player I’ve coached in my 34 years.”
Laube, Justin Taveras of East Islip and Deyvon Wright of Half Hollow Hills West are all coming off big seasons, and expectations are high for their respective teams in Suffolk III. But there’s a newcomer to this conversation — DJ Trent. He earned his place among the elite halfbacks after a stirring road performance.
Trent rushed for 153 yards on 21 carries and scored four touchdowns in a herculean effort. He scored three of those touchdowns in the first half as Bellport opened a 30-21 lead.
Westhampton went 65 yards in six plays to score on its opening drive, capped by Nolan’s 25-yard run. Laube added the conversion to make it 8-0.
It took DJ Trent 12 seconds to change everything. He took the first kickoff of Bellport’s season, darted down the visitor’s sideline and returned it 83 yards for a touchdown. Quarterback Equahn Lewis found Cole Cipp with the two-point conversion pass to tie the score at 8.
Devin Trent threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Cipp on fourth-and-12 for a 14-8 lead. The teams traded touchdowns throughout the second quarter.
Westhampton won without fullback/linebacker Liam McIntyre, who suffered a broken hand on the first play of the game.
“Losing McIntyre is awful,” Parry said. “He’s a two-way guy and our punter. That’s going to hurt us in this division.”