When Babylon gets moving, there’s little teams can do to slow the Panthers down.
A swarming group of linebackers and a ball-hawking unit of defensive backs effectively limit the length of opposing possessions, allowing the Panthers offense to rack up quick-strike scores with their dynamic offense.
A quartet of corners — Shawn Kaminsky, Joe Rende, Jason Carlock and Kenny Rohl — intercepted passes in Babylon’s 36-6 win over host Port Jefferson on Saturday in Suffolk IV, putting the ball in quarterback Scott Sasso’s hands.
Sasso responded by completing 5 of 8 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown and carrying 10 times for 62 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half.
“Once we get rolling, I don’t think anyone can stop us,” said Carlock, who hauled in a 29-yard touchdown strike from Sasso in the second quarter and a 33-yard touchdown from Rende in the third, increasing the lead to 36-0.
Babylon (8-0) did not get off to a fast start like it had hoped. The Royals, who entered play winners of their past four games, controlled much of the clock in the opening quarter, eating away nearly seven minutes before the Panthers had their first possession.
A nine-play, 71-yard drive was capped by Sasso’s seven-yard run and two-point conversion run, giving Babylon an 8-0 lead.
After another Port Jefferson (5-3) possession, the Panthers got moving. Sasso’s touchdown pass to Carlock increased the lead to 15-0, then Kaminsky’s interception on the ensuing Port Jeff possession set up Sasso on Port Jeff’s 42.
Kaminsky hauled in a 23-yard pass on 2nd-and-8, leading to a three-yard scoring run by Sasso.
Rende’s interception on the Royals’ next drive set up another scoring run by Sasso, this one from 12 yards. Babylon led 29-0 at halftime and cruised in the second half en route to clinching the top seed in the Suffolk IV playoffs.
“We’re ready; we’re a senior-based team,” Sasso said. “We’re experienced, and I think we’re going to be strong in the playoffs.”
The win capped Babylon’s first undefeated season since back-to-back perfect campaigns in 2012-13. Coach Rick Punzone and the Panthers figure to face stiff competition from Shoreham-Wading River, Glenn, Miller Place and Mount Sinai in the divisional playoffs.
“We know that every team in the playoffs is 0-0,” Carlock said. “But we’re very confident.”
And why shouldn’t he be? After all, when Babylon can blend a potent offense and stingy defense like it did yesterday, the Panthers can just keep rolling.