Jack Coan expected the heat.
The Sayville quarterback wasn’t referring to the Westhampton pass rush, either. At halftime, with his team trailing for the first time this season, Coan braced himself for a verbal blitz from his coach, Rob Hoss.
“I got reamed out. I deserved it. I felt it was my fault,” Coan said. “I made bad mental mistakes and a couple of physical mistakes. I had to wake up.”
Coan’s internal alarm clock buzzed and the Wisconsin-bound senior was back to his usual efficient, effective self in the second half as the Golden Flashes scored 29 consecutive second-half points and rolled past Westhampton, 35-7, Saturday in a duel of unbeaten teams in Suffolk III.
“It’s the first time in my career that I singled out a kid at halftime and I singled out the quarterback,” Hoss said after Sayville (8-0) clinched the No. 1 seed. “I berated him. Some of his reads and checks infuriated me. He knew he had to step up. He said to me, ‘Coach, you were right to ream me out.’ ”
Coan wasted no time in demonstrating both his mental and physical toughness. On Sayville’s first possession of the second half, he drove his team 49 yards for a touchdown, completing two passes for 24 yards and running 14 yards for a first down. Ashton Bradley (17 carries, 134 yards, two TDs) scored on an 11-yard run and Coan hit Mike Dionisio for a two-point conversion that gave Sayville a 14-7 lead it would never relinquish.
Sayville’s defense repeatedly turned back the Hurricanes (7-1), bending under the relentless running of Dylan Laube (33 carries, 172 yards) but breaking only once, when Laube made a breathtaking 48-yard touchdown run on which he put a hand out to keep himself from going down and broke numerous tackles as Westhampton took a 7-6 lead into halftime.
Laube couldn’t shake off the gang-tackling Golden Flashes in the second half. After Sayville forced a punt, Sayville marched 80 yards in six plays, with Coan contributing two 26-yard runs on the drive and ending it with a 19-yard TD pass to Seamus Burns that made it 21-7 late in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter featured more of the same. Coan (15-for-23, 167 yards, three TD passes, one pick; 16 carries, 109 yards) directed a 78-yard, 10-play drive that included a 27-yard pass to Burns and a dazzling 21-yard TD pass to Dionisio on which Coan scrambled away from two blitzers and delivered an accurate pass on the run.
On the next Westhampton possession, Sayville forced its fourth turnover, a fumble recovery, and four plays later, Coan hit Bradley for a 4-yard scoring pass.
“There was no magic,” Hoss said. “I drew up their defense on a white board at halftime, and told them ‘There are no Xs and Os that I can give you.’ We just executed our offense the way we have all year.”
The same can be said of the defense. “The best-kept secret on Long Island is our defense,” Hoss said. “Dylan Laube is a great player but I’m proud that we didn’t give up the big rips, except for one, when he broke all those tackles.”
Linebacker Kevin Kolar was in the middle of the action for the Golden Flashes. He recovered one fumble, his cousin Jake forced two and had an interception, and James Lyons and Nate Bauland each recovered a fumble. “We know we’re good and we take pride in it,” Kolar said. “Everyone trusts each other. If you look at our stats, there’s no one player that stands out. We’re disruptive, we swarm to the ball and we always gang tackle.”
They bring the heat.