By Bill Landon
The Mount Sinai Mustangs made short work of visiting East Hampton-Bridgehampton on the football field Saturday afternoon, shutting out the Bonackers, 33-0, in a victory that was icing on the cake for the host team’s homecoming celebration.
It was a lopsided game after Mount Sinai scored its fourth unanswered touchdown, and rather than kick the extra point, the Mustangs took a knee to arrest the scoring fest at 27-0.
Mount Sinai head coach Vinnie Ammirato rested his starters and flushed his bench, as every available player on his 35-man roster saw action the rest of the way.
On their first possession of the game, the opposing team was forced to punt on three and out.
With the game less than two minutes old, Mount Sinai senior running back Christian Knab fielded the ball then found a hole, bounced to the outside and went the distance for the score. With the extra point, the Mustangs took the early 7-0 lead.
“We played our hardest — everyone played their best,” Knab said. “We came out and we did what we’re supposed to do.”
The Bonackers, fielding just 18 players and losing two to injury during the game, used every available player on their bench out of necessity. Again, unable to move the chains, the opposing team was forced to punt.
Mount Sinai senior wide receiver Griffin McGrath went 64 yards for the next touchdown, and after another East Hampton-Bridgehampton three and out, junior wide receiver Jake Knab fielded a clean ball and took it all the way down the stretch for the team’s third touchdown.
“I caught the ball and there was a good wall set up [in front of me so] I followed the wall,” McGrath said. “And it was clear all the way to the end zone.”
Jake Knab took over at quarterback for junior R.J. Maher the rest of the way.
“This game was unusual — first string starters usually come out and sometimes second string goes in,” Knab said. “Today was a fun game for me because I rarely play.”
Early in the second quarter, Mount Sinai junior running back John Paolella plowed up the middle to find the end zone for another six points.
“We played well all around and second teamers got their chance today,” Paolella said. “It was a chance to play at homecoming and we made the most of it.”
As the kicking team took to the field for the point-after attempt, Ammirato barked the play from the sideline, and the Mustangs lined up as if they were going for two, but took a knee to keep the score 27-0.
“We don’t want to score anymore,” Ammirato said from the sideline. “Let’s keep the score reasonable.”
The Mustangs non-starters couldn’t control themselves, and freshman running back Liam McGrath, who was brought up from the junior varsity squad to play in the game, was not to be stopped as he raced with the ball down the left sideline for the final touchdown of the afternoon. Choosing not to attempt the point after, Mount Sinai again took a knee to hold the score at 33-0.
With the win, the Mustangs improve to 6-1, vying for second place in League IV with John Glenn. The Mustangs will battle John Glenn on the gridiron Saturday in the last game of the regular season, to break the tie.
“Everyone is going to work their hardest and put in the extra work in practice,” Christian Knab said, for his Mustangs team to be able to top John Glenn. “And we’ll have to see what happens on Halloween.”
Ammirato said that the best part of the homecoming win is that everyone on his bench saw action.
“Just getting everyone in the game — I love when that happens,” the head coach said. “These kids come to practice every day and work just as hard sometimes they get in the game sometimes they don’t, and today they got a chance to play some quality minutes at homecoming in front of a big crowd; getting their names announced.”
Ammirato said that because the junior varsity game was cancelled, it presented an even bigger opportunity, bringing up some sophomores and freshman that saw some action, too.
Griffin McGrath is ready to see his team claim the No. 2 spot.
“We’ll have to work hard in practice this week and watch film,” he said. “And we’ll have to execute the coaches’ game plan to the letter.”