Hauppauge Eagles wide receiver Mike Ortonlani (25) runs the ball...

Hauppauge Eagles wide receiver Mike Ortonlani (25) runs the ball back for a touchdown during the first quarter. (Sept. 7, 2010) Credit: Christopher Pasatieri

The lights went out in Hauppauge last night - a technical glitch that delayed the second half of the game by about 10 minutes. The Eagles' Mike Ortolani, though, shined on.

The running back scored three touchdowns, including a 27-yard dash up the sideline 2:39 into the game to open the scoring, as Hauppauge defeated Harborfields, 28-14, in the Suffolk Division III opener.

"I did feel different" than last season, Ortolani said. "Last year, we lost out on the county championships and, before the games, a few guys were texting me, telling me, 'finish what we started.' "

Finishing may be a long way off, but Ortolani certainly spurred on a team that coach Joe Patrovich said is still trying to find itself. His 25-yard dash up the middle with 1:42 left in the first quarter put Hauppauge up 13-0. His 40-yard run about two minutes into the third quarter put Hauppauge at first-and-goal on the 1-yard line. Halfback Anthony Brody-Santos then made it 19-7. Ortolani converted a handoff from quarterback Brendan Ehlinger to give them a 21-7 advantage.

Harborfields drew to within 21-14 on a quarterback sneak from Sean Clark, but inched no closer. In addition to running the field, Ortolani saw some minutes at quarterback - something that Patrovich said could be a possibility in the future. Though happy with Ehlinger's play, he added that, with only two starters returning from last year, "we have to find ourselves."

"We're messing around ," he said. "But it's a win. We made some mistakes, but I'm really happy."

Indeed, there were some definite positives - even beyond Ortolani's play. Chanse Menendez's 27-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter displayed the talents of an under-hyped offensive line that could be a game-changer in the Eagles' running-heavy game.

Mostly, the team showed resilience, Patrovich said - something that bodes well for a successful 2010 campaign.

"That's the bottom line," he said. "We were resilient."

More High Schools