West Islip RB Rocco Carpinello takes the ball around the...

West Islip RB Rocco Carpinello takes the ball around the outside for a big gain against Bellport on Thursday at Bellport. Credit: George A Faella

Rocco Carpinello was the opener and the closer for the West Islip football team.

    The senior halfback scored on an 82-yard run on the Lions first possession and his 33-yard dash up the middle with 4:31 remaining broke a tie and sent West Islip to a 21-14 win over Bellport in a Suffolk Division II game played Thursday in Bellport.

    In between those two long touchdowns, Carpinello scored on a 39-yard run in the second quarter to give the Lions a 14-0 lead. He finished with 195 yards on 13 carries and scored all three Lions touchdowns.

    “He’s so talented and on any given day he can be our best player on the field,” said West Islip coach Steve Mileti.

   “I was a little banged up at the end of the second quarter and missed some of the third quarter,” Carpinello said. “It was a physical game. I came back in time to make a big run.”

    He followed a block from offensive tackle Joe Tapp over the left side for the winning touchdown.

   Carpinello finished the way he started — in the end zone. On the Lions first possession on a third down and two, Carpinello went over right tackle, picked up a huge block from fullback Chris Piropato and burst down the sideline for an 82-yard touchdown.

    On Bellport’s ensuing possession, Piropato had two tackles for a loss as the Lions defense forced a three and out. Piropato finished 11 tackles, including four for a loss.

    “Chris exemplifies the heart of a lion,” Mileti said. “He set the tone for our defense and had a monster game. He was cramping up in the second half and refused to tap out.”      

   Jovan Brewster's interception at the West Islip 41 set up the next Lions touchdown. Carpinello made it a two-score lead with a 39-yard touchdown run. Shaun Boyle added the kick to make it 14-0 with 6:16 left in the half. The drive went 59 yards in three plays.

    All the momentum that West Islip seized in the first half was lost on Bellport’s first drive of the third quarter.

    The Clippers went 80 yards in four plays capped by  Braydon Cipp's 32-yard scoring run. Danny Romero made it 14-7 with 10:30 left in the third quarter. The key play came when quarterback Caleb White scrambled 41 yards to the Lions 32.

     White had Bellport on the move again early in the fourth quarter. He found wide receiver Michael Frankie for 37 yards to the West Islip 43 before Cipp added a 10-yard run for a first down at the Lions 33.

   But on first down, Piropato made another key play that halted the Clippers momentum. White worked the option right and tried to pitch to halfback Kingston John. Piropato alertly read the pitch and deflected the ball away from John. Piropato, in a mad scramble with two other players, recovered the loose ball at the West Islip 43.

    “I was reading the down block,” Piropato said. “I jumped in front of the pitch and got my left hand on it. The momentum had switched Bellport’s way and we needed a big play.”

    Bellport forced a short punt and took over at its 20. White hit Jovhan Salomon for 41 yards to key an eight-play, 80-yard scoring drive. He found Shane Abrams with a 16-yard scoring strike and Romero’s kick made it 14-14 with 8:58 left.

    And then it was Rocco’s time to close. 


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