Liam McIntyre stood on the stadium wall and celebrated with all of the Westhampton revelers after the Hurricanes sealed the school’s first Long Island Class III football title last Sunday. The crowd embraced McIntyre and the rest of the Hurricanes, who danced all over LaValle Stadium after a 54-26 win over Lawrence to finish a 12-0 season.
“We’ve had such a great ride and our community has been there the entire way,” said McIntyre, a junior fullback / linebacker who suffered a broken hand on the first play of the season and returned in Week 5. “All of our guys got healthy and we just came together and realized a goal.”
Westhampton was treated to blaring fire engines and the spray of water cannons as they returned home to the quiet beach hamlet on the South Shore.
“We had a police escort the entire way home from Stony Brook. It was so incredible,” Westhampton coach Bill Parry said. “When we got off our exit on Sunrise Highway, the police and fire escort took us through town, winding through Main Street, and to the high school, where there was more than 250 people waiting with the American flag hanging from one of the bucket trucks and the water cannons spraying water. It was a real exciting welcome home.”
One of the unsung heroes for the Hurricanes this season was linebacker/wide receiver Nolan Quinlan. The 6-5 junior led Westhampton with nine total tackles, including one for a loss, as the Hurricanes slowed down Lawrence in the Class III final.
“I just go about my business and do my job and we win,” Quinlan said. “No one cares who gets the credit as long as we win. Coach Parry has instilled a team-first attitude here and we all believe in it.”
Quinlan caught a 64-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Clarke Lewis to give Westhampton a 34-12 lead with 5:56 left in the third quarter. Quinlan took the Lawrence defensive unit by such surprise that he was uncovered 40 yards downfield. It was Lewis’ only throw of the game as Westhampton rolled behind halfback Dylan Laube and his 227 yards rushing and six touchdowns.
“Nolan is so athletic, we were able to disguise and change up our coverages and confuse the Lawrence offense,” Parry said. “We run 60 percent of the time [normally] and he’s a lead blocker, a fantastic blocker with such long reach. He’s made the most of his opportunities and been a key component to our championship season.”
Quinlan had 15 catches for 381 yards and five touchdowns this season. He was one of the leaders on Long Island with six interceptions.
Westhampton rolled through a spectacular season with an offense that averaged 42 points per game. Laube’s 47 touchdowns broke the Long Island record for TDs in a season set by North Babylon’s Jason Gwaltney, who had 45 in 2004. Laube also turned in the third-highest rushing total in a season with 2,684 yards.
Said Parry, “It was a special season in Westhampton.”
ROAD TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP
Suffolk III playoffs
Rocky Point, 56-21
West Babylon, 61-21
Half Hollow Hills West, 28-14
Long Island Championships