With the Long Beach Marines already posting a victory against MacArthur in their season opener on Sept. 12, spirits were high as fans filled the stands at Veterans Memorial Field to cheer their team on to a 48-0 homecoming victory over Herricks on the evening of Sept. 20. Quarterback Liam Rafferty completed 12 passes for 173 yards and four touchdowns. Running back Chris Parler caught a touchdown pass and also ran for 70 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Wide receiver Marke Sutton caught a 54-yard pass for another touchdown.
Their strong start this season was especially impressive after the hardships the team endured last year in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, which destroyed the team’s uniforms and equipment and left many players homeless right before their quarterfinal game against Carey last November.
The homecoming carnival, sponsored by the High School Student Government Organization, attracted crowds of young and old alike. Volunteers from many Long Beach High School clubs provided homemade food and desserts, as well as entertainment including a pie toss, a wedding booth and other carnival games.
Long Beach High School senior Alexandra Brodsky belted out a heartfelt performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” bringing the fans to their feet before the start of the game. The cheerleading squad entertained the crowd and inspired the athletes.
At the start of the halftime festivities, homecoming king Sam Rabiner escorted his queen Hannah Piazza around the track, waving regally to the cheering crowd. Then the marching band took to the field to wow the fans with their fancy footwork and precision playing in a routine aptly titled “We Built This City.” Band members, whose uniforms were also ruined in the storm, were sporting dazzling new uniforms through the combined efforts of the Board of Education and the Friends of the Arts Sponsor a Marching Marine campaign. The band will be showing off those new uniforms this year at the Columbus Day Parade in Manhattan, and again at the Newsday Marching Band Festival at Hofstra University. In a longstanding homecoming halftime tradition, members of the Long Beach Bulldogs youth football program charged across the field at lightning speed in the annual Bulldog Dash before the football team returned to the field for the second half.
Three other varsity teams also scored homecoming victories. The boys’ badminton team posted a 4-3 victory over Bellmore JFK, the girls’ tennis team won 4-3 against Calhoun, and the girls’ volleyball team bested Bellmore JFK in three games.
Homecoming weekend was capped off with a ceremony on Saturday morning to induct four new members into the Long Beach High School Wall of Fame.