Jaden AlfanoStJohn is used to dominating on offense, but it was his defensive prowess that secured a 12-7 win for the Westhampton Beach football team on Friday night.
Comsewogue was on the Westhampton 35-yard line with :55 left in the game when AlfanoStJohn reeled in an interception just in front of the end zone to secure the victory in Suffolk III.
Westhampton Beach improved to 3-1. Comsewogue fell to 2-2.
“I had to make a play,” AlfanoStJohn said. “They were stacking the box [on offense] and I couldn’t really run the ball. But I knew I had to step up on offense or defense and it just so happened to be that I stepped up on defense.”
AlfanoStJohn accounted for all of the Hurricanes’ points, rushing 15 times for 51 yards and a touchdown. He also caught a 30-yard touchdown pass. On defense, he had two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
“Jaden is Jaden,” linebacker Shavar Coffey said. “He is going to do what he does every single night. He is going to pick up points. He surprised me today with [two interceptions] because he is not known as a defensive player. But today he really stepped up and put the team on his back. That’s what a captain does, you know, he’s our top player and I expect nothing else from him.”
Comsewogue’s Jaden Martinez rushed for a 2-yard touchdown to cap off an eight-and-half minute drive to give the Warriors a 7-0 lead with 3:34 remaining in the second quarter.
On the ensuing drive, AlfanoStJohn caught a 30-yard touchdown pass from Christian Capuano, but the point after attempt was blocked by Martinez to make it 7-6 at halftime.
With 9:32 left In the fourth quarter, AlfanoStJohn ran for a 36-yard touchdown, but it was called back because of a holding penalty and the Hurricanes were forced to punt.
AlfanoStJohn said despite having the touchdown called back, the team never lost confidence.
“We practice these situations all the time,” AlfanoStJohn said. “So we know what we have to do and we know we have to elevate our game and step up. We just put our foot to the metal and we ran it.”
On Comsewogue’s next drive, Westhampton recovered a fumble on the Warriors’ 24-yard line with 6:47 left. AlfanoStJohn rushed for the game-winning 2-yard touchdown just 1:40 later.
Comsewogue’s final two drives ended in interceptions by AlfanoStJohn. Westhampton coach Bryan Schaumloffel said the defense came ready to play.
“I can’t say enough about our defense,” Schaumloffel said. “Our defense won the game today. Even though the offense made a couple of big plays at the end, our defense grinded it out for all four quarters and I am really proud of them.”