Tarik Rountree is one of those good-hands players. He catches passes, plays defensive back, runs back kicks. So imagine his chagrin when he dropped three sure interceptions, one that would likely have been a pick-six, and also dropped another easy pass.
"I was too anxious. I was looking downfield before I caught the ball," Rountree said.
He was smiling because he got a chance to prove he was a handy guy for Center Moriches, after all, catching a touchdown pass early and making a critical interception in the end zone late as the Red Devils spoiled Greenport-Southold's homecoming with a 16-3 victory Friday night before an overflow crowd at Dorrie Jackson Memorial Field in Greenport. Both teams are now 5-1 in Suffolk IV.
"You've got to have a short memory," he said.
Rountree caught a 24-yard slant from Tyrell Thomas on the first play of the second quarter. Thomas ran for a two-point conversion and an 8-0 lead that looked like it would hold up all night because its stout defense and a self-destructing, penalty-prone Greenport offense put points at a premium for the hosts.
But Center Moriches made its own mistakes, surrendering an onside kick and failing on a fourth-down pass deep in its own territory. The Porters couldn't fully capitalize on the latter, but did get a 22-yard field goal from John Drinkwater to make it 8-3 late in the third quarter.
Greenport finally showed an offensive spark on its first drive of the final period, behind the hard running of Jared Schenone (six carries, 46 yards) to march from its own 13 to the Red Devils' 22. Eugene Allen highlighted the drive with a 23-yard run on a short screen pass.
But Rountree again raised his hand and waited to be called on. He leaped high in the end zone to intercept a pass from Matt Drinkwater and returned it 34 yards to snuff out the Porters' last chance to continue its unbeaten season.
Clarence Trent made sure there would be no comeback by breaking off a 52-yard touchdown run on an improbable third-and-27.
"I was smelling the end zone," said Trent, who had 83 yards on 12 carries. "It was a straight handoff but I had confidence in my blockers. I cut upfield and just used my speed. I knew that put them away."
Center Moriches coach Steve Failla said that Trent "ran like he was possessed. He showed some fire in his eyes on that last drive, so we gave him the ball."