Hauppauge's Jojo Provenzano (7) runs back the opening kickoff for...

Hauppauge's Jojo Provenzano (7) runs back the opening kickoff for a touchdown during the Suffolk High School Division III football game between Hauppauge and Comsewogue on Friday Sept 23 2022 at Hauppauge High School. Credit: Bob Sorensen

It took 15 seconds for Jojo Provenzano to make his presence felt Friday night.

The Hauppauge senior gathered the opening kickoff at the 14-yard line and raced down the middle of the field for an 86-yard touchdown.

The night belonged to Provenzano as host Hauppauge beat Comsewogue, 23-20, in a Suffolk Division III football game. The halfback added 181 yards rushing on 20 carries and an 11-yard touchdown run.

“Coach [Chris] Diesso has a great blocking scheme on kickoffs and our guys opened some lanes,” Provenzano said. “I followed the lead block and broke loose.”

Hauppauge made it a two-score game when the Eagles drove 33 yards in eight plays. Provenzano capped the march with an 11-yard run for a 13-0 lead. The short drive was set up when Brett Artura tackled the punter after a botched snap on an attempted punt.

 “Jojo is more electric and explosive than I thought, just an amazing athlete,” Hauppauge coach Pat Faivre said. “He plays both ways and impacts the game in every way. He’s also a standup defensive end and plays quickly off the end and contains mobile quarterbacks.”

Comsewogue (0-3), averaging 34.5 points per game, lost its first two games late in the fourth quarter and needed a comeback effort in this one. They rallied back to take a 14-13 lead.

A tactical coaching decision by Comsewogue coach Sean Tremblay set up the first score. With winds howling at 25-30 miles per hour, Tremblay called a timeout, forcing Hauppauge to punt into the wind. The subsequent punt netted six yards and gave Comsewogue the ball at the Eagles 42 with three seconds left in the first quarter. It was enough time for one more play with the wind at its back.

Sophomore John Russo hauled in a 42-yard touchdown pass from Kaden West on the final play of the first quarter to make it 13-7.

“We’re a couple of plays away from being 3-0 and tonight was another example of coming up just short,” Tremblay said.

Aaron Nieves' fumble recovery setup Comsewogue’s next score, a 59-yard aerial from West to Chris Beverly. Dandrea’s kick made it 14-13.

Hauppauge answered with a 14-play, 65-yard drive to set up a 25-yard field goal by Dan Martinez for the 16-14 halftime lead.

Hauppauge extended the lead when defensive end Chris Diesso came off the edge to block a punt at the 45.  

“I lined up outside the tackle and jabbed outside and used a swim move to get inside,” said Diesso, who transferred back to Hauppauge after playing baseball at the Stony Brook School.

The block set up Christian Russo’s 28-yard scoring run for the 23-14 lead. West rumbled 42 yards for a score to get Comsewogue within 23-20 in the fourth quarter.

 “We’re happy Chris came back to play with us,” Provenzano said. “He energizes us. He’s a beast. The punt block was a game changer.”

Diesso wasn’t done. His 14-yard sack on third down halted Comsewogue’s final fourth quarter drive.

“I’m glad I’m playing football again,” Diesso said. “I missed all the guys and the game. I always felt a part of this Hauppauge family.”



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