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Nick Fountis' 73-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Trent gives Bellport win

Bellport wide receiver Andrew Trent hauls in a

Bellport wide receiver Andrew Trent hauls in a 73-yard touchdown pass over the middle to give Bellport the lead in the second half on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Know that saying about closers and defensive backs needing to have short memories? It doesn't only apply to them.

Because in the second quarter Saturday, Bellport wideout Andrew Trent dropped a deep ball along the sideline (he had both hands on it, but couldn't secure the catch). Three plays later, the Clippers fumbled and East Islip capitalized with a touchdown.

"All you can do is shake it off and try to make up for it later," Trent said. "Just forget it."

Then make a couple memorable plays to atone.

He snagged a 73-yard touchdown from Nick Fountis that lifted host Bellport to an 18-14 win over rival East Islip in the Clippers' return to Suffolk II football.

"Andrew's a playmaker," said Fountis, who worked extensively at a passing camp with Trent this summer. The receiver had eight receptions for 123 yards. "Mistakes will be made, but I come right back to him and he's someone I absolutely trust."

James Watkins' fourth-down sack of Jack Hannigan gave Bellport possession at its 27. Fountis, under pressure, threw deep up the seam and Trent, despite being held, made a spectacular catch then high-stepped to slip an ankle tackle before dashing to the end zone with 37 seconds left in the third.

That was game's last score, and the Clippers' defense made sure of it. Watkins had four tackles for loss, including two sacks. Senior defensive end Devyn Branch, in his first career start, essentially sealed the win with a strip sack with 1:41 remaining.

The Redmen mounted a 12-play drive midway through the fourth, but the threat eventually was halted by a defensive back with a short memory . . . Well, maybe not. Trent defended a fourth-down pass into the end zone, sprinting from his free safety position to swat away a back-shoulder fade attempt along the sideline with 5:55 to go.

"I remembered they'd beaten us deep on a similar play," he said, referring to Hannigan's 35-yard TD to Hugens Tranquille that gave East Islip an early 7-6 lead. "It looked familiar so I got over there sooner."

Fountis also rebounded from a slow start. After being intercepted by Justin Taveras to end the first half, he went 4-for-4 for 127 yards and two TDs in the third quarter and finished 11 of 16 for 179 yards. Fountis hit Conor Haverty on consecutive plays of 24 and 17 yards -- quickly going from a third-and-17 hole to the end zone, and pulling Bellport within 14-12 in the third.

Tailback Jabari M'bhaso (70 yards) suffered an ankle injury, but Adrian Delrosario filled in with 69 yards. Bellport went 93 yards on its opening drive, capped by Delrosario's 7-yard TD run. East Islip went up 14-6 when Sean Karika (98 yards) scored from 3 yards with 2:44 left in the second.

This was the teams' first meeting since 2010, when Bellport beat the Redmen in the Class II final. The Clippers then spent the next three seasons in Division III, before returning this year.

As coach Joe Cipp III spoke to his team in its celebratory huddle, imploring them "not to overlook anybody," Watkins interjected: "Nobody should overlook us, either," he said. "Just because we're coming from Division III, don't think we're soft."

Soft? Forget that.

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