Paul Boutin waited patiently for the moment.
Boutin sat on the deep out pattern and watched for the moment East Islip quarterback Brandon Miller released the pass.
Boutin’s timing was perfect. Miller threw the deep ball and Boutin pounced. Westhampton’s senior defensive back, starting in only his second game, intercepted on the home sideline at the 29-yard line and returned the ball 52 yards to the Redmen 19.
Two plays later, the Hurricanes capitalized on the turnover. Westhampton quarterback Christian Capuano found Jackson Hulse on a crossing pattern for an 18-yard touchdown with 1:07 left in the third quarter. It was the third touchdown pass of the game for Capuano and opened an 18-point lead in host Westhampton’s 31-21 win over East Islip before a crowd of more than 800 Friday night in a Suffolk Division III football game.
“I saw the way the receiver lined up and I knew he was going out,” Boutin said. “We had pressure on the quarterback all game. I stepped right in front of the pass.”
Boutin sealed the win with his second interception with 1:59 left.
“He’s stepped in and done a great job for us,” said Westhampton captain Jaden AlfanoSt John. “This was a really big team effort. We have guys playing well everywhere.”
Trailing 24-6, East Islip (4-2) rallied for two fourth-quarter touchdowns to climb within 24-21. Miller fired a 35-yard touchdown pass to Rob Kreush in the back of the end zone on fourth and 10 to make it 24-13 with 10:34 left. He added a 5-yard scoring pass to Nick Baldino and converted the ensuing two-point conversion pass to Anthony Carroll to make it 24-21 with 4:08 left.
Boutin’s defensive gem loomed more pivotal as East Islip charged back into the game.
“We knew going into this game we were going to have to make the most of our opportunities,” Westhampton coach Bryan Schaumloffel said. “And we had to make some big stops. And I thought our defense had some huge moments.”
The Hurricanes sealed the win when AlfanoStJohn keyed a four-play, 82-yard march with a 35-yard touchdown run with 2:54 remaining for the final margin. AlfanoStJohn finished with 149 yards on 20 carries and caught five passes for 59 yards.
But this one was more about the Westhampton defense setting the tone early and getting pressure on the talented Miller, who completed 24 of 39 passes for 303 yards and three scores but was sacked eight times and threw three interceptions. The Hurricanes forced three consecutive three and outs to set up the offense in favorable field position.
“We were getting free runs at the quarterback and changing up our blitzes,” said defensive end Jesse AlfanoStJohn, Jaden’s twin brother, who had five sacks. “He was tough and hung in there under heavy pressure.”
Westhampton (5-1) scored on its first three possessions to open a 17-0 lead.
On the first possession, Capuano hit Jaden AlfanoStJohn for 32 yards and Aidan Cassara for six yards before Cassara caught a 19-yard touchdown strike for a 7-0 lead with 8:46 left in the first quarter.
The next score was set up after Chris Daleo and Jesse AlfanoStJohn recorded back-to-back sacks and East Islip managed a short punt to the East Islip 45. Two plays later, Aidan Cumisky caught a slightly deflected pass down the middle of the field for a 45-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 4:52 left in the first quarter. Westhampton went on an 11-play, 52-yard scoring march before Jackson Hulse drilled a 31-yard field goal for the 17-0 lead with 9:13 left in the half.
And all that scoring came before East Islip managed a first down.
“The defense came in hot,” Jaden AlfanoStJohn said. “And Capuano showed great leadership with the offense — big team win.”