After two heartbreaking defeats, Bay Shore finally earned its first victory of the season. But its players' hearts remained heavy.
The Marauders defeated visiting Lindenhurst 35-14 yesterday, but were without wide receiver Joel Nunez, who learned after last Friday's one-point loss at Sachem North that his father died in a car accident while driving home from work earlier that day. Nunez, a senior captain, hasn't yet returned from the Dominican Republic, where his father's funeral and burial were held. He's expected to be back with the team for next week's game at Northport, Bay Shore coach Jim Giattino said.
The Bay Shore players and coaches had Nunez's initials and No. 4 jersey number written in black magic marker on their calves and arms to honor their teammate.
After sacrificing a 27-point lead in a Week 1 loss to Longwood and last week's 63-62 defeat, Matthias Eato honored Nunez by carrying his team to victory -- rushing for 265 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries.
"We did this for our brother, Joel Nunez," Eato said. "We know we have a great offense and we were just motivated even more by our friend's loss."
Eato scored on runs of 26, 51 and 44 yards and caught a two-point conversion pass that gave Bay Shore a 22-7 lead with 3:28 left in the first half. Quarterback Jake Sheets accounted for the Marauders' two other touchdowns as he ran one in from 3 yards and threw a 51-yard strike on a fade route to McKinley Skinner (four receptions, 135 yards).
Sheets and fellow junior Ryan Mazzie share the quarterbacking duties for Bay Shore. Though Mazzie threw for a school record six TDs last week, it was Sheets who had the hot hand yesterday. He was 7-for-11 for 135 yards with a touchdown and two-point conversion pass, and ran for 23 yards. Mazzie, who started the game, was 5-for-10 for 85 yards, but was intercepted twice in the first quarter.
"We preach brotherhood, family and do it for each other," Giattino said of the relationship between his two quarterbacks. "They root for each other. And it's a competition, but I think the whole team feeds off the way they compete. Truly."
Lindenhurst (1-2) capitalized on Mazzie's first interception, as the wide-open Mike Carson caught a 43-yard touchdown pass from Brad Witkowski to make it 7-0 at 6:13 of the first quarter. But that was Witkowski's only completion in 11 attempts, and he was injured with just over a minute left in the first half and didn't return. He fumbled after taking a hard hit on a 20-yard run and it was recovered by Sheets, who also had an interception and a pass breakup.
After giving up 63 points last week, Bay Shore's defense forced two turnovers and held Lindenhurst to 90 passing yards.
"It's funny because we're not really a big team," linebacker Ousmane Camara said of Bay Shore's dominance at the line of scrimmage. "I think it was the emotions of the loss for our brother."