There is so much more to homecoming than a football game. Especially the way they do it in Bay Shore.
In a time-honored tradition of more than 70 years the Bay Shore folks go all out to celebrate the community through football.
The band and cheerleaders led the parade from the Fifth Avenue Elementary School to the high school to kick off the homecoming festivities. A carnival was spread out among the grounds as alumni and their families from as far back as the 1940’s packed the Clifton LaPlatney Field on Saturday to reminisce 92 years of Bay Shore football.
“Our community comes out in force,” said Bob Panariello, the director of athletics for Bay Shore Schools, a 1982 alum.
Bay Shore senior Ava Coppola got it started with a stirring rendition of the National Anthem and the football team capped a perfect day in Bay Shore with its first win of the season, the 391st in school history.
Quarterback Terrance Day scored on a 3-yard run and fired the two-point conversion pass to halfback Anthony Thompson with 7:10 left as Bay Shore edged previously undefeated Whitman, 22-20, before a packed house of more than 3,200 fans in a Suffolk Division I football game.
“I thought we put our best foot forward and gave the home crowd something to enjoy,” said Bay Shore’s first-year coach Mike Brown. “We opened up the playbook and had some fun. We took care of the ball and made some big plays.”
Bay Shore (1-2), which turned the ball over 11 times in its first two losses, had one turnover on Saturday and it proved inconsequential.
“We cleaned it up played smart football,” said Day, who rushed for 92 yards and passed for another 151. “We blew the first two games by not taking care of the ball.”
Whitman (2-1) opened the scoring when quarterback Quinn O’Hara found Kendall Wilkerson behind the secondary for a 39-yard touchdown pass. Joshua Arevalo added the kick to make it 7-0 with 1:19 left in the first quarter.
It didn’t take long for Bay Shore to respond. On the ensuing possession, Day hit streaking wide receiver Joe Chimienti with a 50-yard pass down the middle for the score. Day added a play-action, two-point conversion pass to Chimienti for an 8-7 lead with 11:52 left in the half.
“He hit me in stride,” Chimienti said. “They had a breakdown in coverage and he threw a great pass.”
The Marauders extended the lead on another Day to Chimienti scoring pass. This one went 24 yards after Day rolled away from the pressure and to his right to find Chimienti, who broke away from the coverage, for a 14-7 lead with 34 seconds left in the half.
“That was a big score right before the half,” Day said. “The defensive back came up and Joe beat him to the corner.”
O’Hara engineered an eight-play, 74-yard touchdown march to tie the score at 14 with 1:57 left in the third quarter. He completed four of five passes for 67 yards, including a well-timed 20-yard slant pass to Wilkerson across the face of the Bay Shore defense for the score. Wilkerson caught nine passes for 153 yards and two scores.
“We were trying to move O’Hara out of the pocket and make him uncomfortable,” Brown said. “I thought we did a pretty good job. But he still made some really nice throws.”
It was O’Hara’s second TD pass of the game and 10th of the season.
Day would take advantage of a short field to give Bay Shore the lead for good. The Marauders took over on the Whitman 33 after a short punt and Day went to work.
“I like the ball in his hands,” Brown said. “The sky is the limit for him. He’s so talented.”
Day moved the Marauders to the Whitman 3-yard line on seven straight running plays, including two big first down runs of nine and eight yards by Nolan Epps. On second down and goal he went play-action left and rolled around the right end where he got a crushing block by Chimienti for the go-ahead score.
“It was a monster block and just cleared the way,” said Day.
O’Hara, who completed 14 of 27 passes for 219 yards wasn’t done. He rallied the Wildcats in a 10-play, 72-yard scoring drive. On fourth down and goal from inside the one, O’Hara bulled his way in for the score. The two-point conversion pass was intercepted by Day.
It was his Day all day.