By Joe Galotti
Coming off back-to-back blowout losses, the Comsewogue football team showed plenty of fight in their homecoming matchup against Hauppauge Saturday, but ultimately came up short on the scoreboard, falling 35-21. Senior running back Bryan Hurley and sophomore running back Kai Cochrane each ran for over 120 yards for the Warriors in the loss.
“We dug ourselves a hole with turnovers in the first half,” Comsewogue head coach Sean Tremblay said. “We battled back into the fourth quarter, but some untimely penalties and poor third and fourth down defense really cost us.”
The Warriors also lost starting junior defensive end Andy Suarez for the season in the game, after he suffered a broken leg in the third quarter. Suarez marks the fifth starter Comsewogue has seen go down with a season-ending injury this year.
“We’ve been playing with a lot of guys that at the beginning of the season weren’t starters,” Tremblay said. “But to the kids’ credit, they’re still fighting.”
After falling behind early in their previous two games, the Warriors did the same against the Eagles. Hauppauge opened the game’s scoring in the first quarter with a 5-yard touchdown pass by quarterback Thomas Balcom to wide receiver Dominic Paresi. In the second quarter, Balcom and Paresi connected in the end zone again, this time, on a 10-yard reception.
Hurley got Comsewogue back in the game with a 1-yard rushing touchdown, cutting the Eagles lead to just 14-7 at the halftime break.
“All eleven guys [on offense] played their hearts out on every play,” he said. “Our line was able to get a great push, and when our backs weren’t running the ball, we blocked for each other.”
After a scoreless third quarter, Hauppauge’s star running back, Marcus Bisono, began to take over the game. The senior delivered a 15-yard and 10-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The running backs for the Warriors also stepped up in the final 12 minutes of the game. Hurley and Cochrane each registered a touchdown run as Comsewogue trailed by just seven points late in the contest.
But, the duo of Balcom and Paresi would come up big again for the Eagles. Balcom delivered a 60-yard touchdown pass to his wideout, a play that would secure the win for Hauppauge.
While the Warriors defense as a whole struggled to contain the Eagles, Tremblay said senior defensive back Austin Haynia was a standout in the game. The senior defended two passes, and came up with several key tackles. Tremblay also liked what he saw from Suarez, before he exited the game.
On the flip side of the ball, Comsewogue’s head coach was very pleased with what his team was able to do on the ground.
“If there’s any silver lining to losing the game, it’s that we ran the ball very well,” Tremblay said. “I was happy offensively.”
“The offensive line did a great job getting off the ball quickly and creating holes so our backs could make the right cuts and get first downs,” he added.
The Warriors’ fan base showed their passion for the team on Saturday. Even with Comsewogue entering its homecoming weekend without a win, the school’s supporters created an exciting atmosphere for the game.
“The community is fantastic; they always come out and support,” Tremblay said. “With us entering the game at 0-4, it would have been easy for them just to stay home, or just do the parade and go home. But, they all came to the game and cheered us on till the very end.”
Even at 0-5 in Division III, the season is far from over for the Warriors. Entering as the No. 7 seed will help Comsewogue’s standing come playoff time, and if the team is able to win at Harborfields next week, and come away with a win in one of its final two games against highly ranked and undefeated Sayville and East Islip, a postseason berth would still be a possibility.