Westhampton Beach quarterback Will Gambino rolled to his right and away from pressure with his team trailing by three with two seconds left in a back-and-forth football game.
Gambino launched his 33rd pass from his own 45 yard-line deep down the Westhampton sideline. But the player on the receiving end was defensive back Matt McIntee, who made the interception inside the East Islip 10 to seal a 23-20 win over host Westhampton in Suffolk Division III.
Anthony Mariani drilled a 25-yard field goal into the wind with 9:15 left to put East Islip up 23-20. Westhampton missed three field goals, including a 26-yarder with 3:39 left in the game.
“This was going to be a big test for us,” said East Islip coach Sal J. Ciampi. “We were going to find out just exactly what kind of football team we have here.”
Ciampi's offense is a mix of speed and power. The line moved people off the ball as East Islip rushed for 225 yards on 40 carries Friday night. Quarterback Thomas Costarelli completed 10 of 18 passes for 142 yards and one score. He was able to bounce back after throwing a pick-6 in the second quarter.
Westhampton took a 20-14 with 5:35 left in the third quarter when Gambino found Heath Sumwalt for a 27-yard touchdown pass. The scoring strike came on a third-and-11 as Gambino stepped up in the pocket and avoided heavy pressure. Michael LoRusso tacked on the extra-point.
East Islip had a quick answer.
It drove 80 yards in eight plays, and punctuated the drive with a 9-yard TD run by McIntee to tie it at 20. Aidan McDermott blocked the extra-point kick to keep the score tied with 1:54 left in the third.
McDermott also blocked a 21-yard field goal attempt on East Islip’s first drive, which Sumwalt scooped up and returned 90 yards for an apparent touchdown but an inadvertent whistle blew the ball dead and nullified the score.
Westhampton’s Brody Schaffer missed a 41-yard field goal attempt on the ensuing drive and East Islip took over on its own 20. It marched 80 yards in 12 plays as Costarelli threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Matt Ferraro. Mariani added the kick and East Islip led 7-0 with 8:17 left in the half.
Westhampton responded with a nine-play, 92-yard scoring drive capped by 1-yard run by Nolan Michalowski. Brody Schaffer added the kick to tie it at 7 with 5:44 left. Gambino found Kevin Smith for 33 and 34 yards to set up the tying score.
The Hurricanes defense came up with the next big play. Michalowski jumped a slant route and returned the interception 23 yards for a touchdown to give Westhampton a 13-7 lead with 4:57 left. The extra-point was blocked.
East Islip answered with a seven-play, 69-yard scoring drive to regain the lead. Ryan Parker scored over left tackle on a 5-yard run and Mariani gave East Islip the 14-13 lead 1:58 left. Costarelli completed 4 of 4 passes for 41 yards on the series.
Westhampton drove to the East Islip 26 before Sebastian Regis bullied his way into the backfield and sacked Gambino for a 7-yard loss. Schaffer attempted a 50-yard field goal with the wind at his back that came up short.
"We had our opportunities and we didn't capitalize," said Westhampton Beach coach Brian Schaumloffel. "Hats off to East Islip they played tough and physical."