Akins' 262 rushing yards, 4 TDs lead Roosevelt runaway

Roosevelt running back Johnnie Akins rushes for a

Roosevelt running back Johnnie Akins rushes for a gain during the first quarter of the Nassau County varsity football Conference IV semifinals vs. Valley Stream North at Hofstra. (Nov. 14, 2013) Photo Credit: James Escher

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When Roosevelt's Johnnie Akins takes a handoff and looks upfield, he must feel as if he's driving on a highway late at night. No traffic in sight.

"On every run, I feel like I can break it. I have complete faith in my line," Akins said after running through gaping holes for 262 yards and four touchdowns -- all in the first half -- as No. 1 Roosevelt overpowered No. 5 Valley Stream North, 49-0, Thursday night in a Nassau IV semifinal at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium.

Akins suffered a stinger and did not play in the second half, although he and coach Joe Vito said the senior would have returned if the game had been close. But the Rough Riders (10-0) led 37-0 at the half in advancing to the Nassau IV final for a third consecutive season, where they will meet Seaford Thursday at 7 p.m. at Hofstra.

"It's a great feeling when you have a line like that," said Akins, who scored on runs of 1, 58, 2 and 2 yards and had gains of 24, 40 and 20 among his 22 carries. He was quick to praise linemen Sam Edouard, James Nuapah, Chukwuma Ukwu, Kyle Manuel and Kayshawn Malone as well as fullback Rob Hansen.

"We just played Roosevelt football -- domination and determination," Akins said.

Vito, who used his entire bench in the second half, agreed with Akin's assessment. "We've had some incredible blockers in Johnnie's career, plus Rob as a lead blocker really helps," Vito said. "But Johnnie has gotten better each year. He's strong and he's got good vision to make those cuts."

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Akins showed some fancy footwork in increasing his rushing yardage for this season to 2,364 and pumping his touchdown total to 27. His replacement, Shamari Kirkpatrick, gained 122 yards and scored twice as the Rough Riders piled up 463 yards on 48 carries and did not throw a single pass.

"I don't think about moves, they just happen," said Akins, who broke out some nifty spins to go along with some sharp cutbacks. "I just love to run the ball."

Valley Stream North (6-4) managed only 85 yards against a defense that pitched its fourth consecutive shutout. "Defense is the biggest part of our team," said Akins, also a starting defensive back. "We have a strong line and no one can move them."

Edouard, Hansen and Stony Brook-bound Raymond Jones are the stalwarts up front for a Roosevelt team that has given up only 34 points all season.

"It's uncanny how well we've played on defense," Vito said. "We haven't had a defense like this here for a long time. That defensive line is very strong. It's the most important part of the team."

Had the game been closer, Akins might have challenged the Nassau playoff record of 397 yards rushing in a game by Bryant Daniels of South Side in 2001. "I don't care about records," Akins said. "I just want to run the ball and I just want to win the game."

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