Jawan Jenkins' speed will be a major topic of discussion this week. Floyd's defensive standout was the difference in yesterday's Suffolk I football game in Northport. He was clearly unstoppable and keyed the Colonials big road win.
Jenkins, a defensive tackle, brought down Northport quarterback Connor Quinn on a fourth quarter, fourth-down run two yards short of the first down at the Floyd 42-yard line with 3:31 left to end the Tigers' last chance at a comeback win.
Jenkins finished with four sacks and 11 total tackles as Floyd upended Northport, 14-7, before a crowd of more than 1,500 on Homecoming Day in Northport. Floyd ran out the clock to seal the win.
"I felt like I was getting into the backfield quite a bit," said Jenkins, who also had two sacks in the season opener. "Our defense is quick to the ball and very physical."
Trailing 14-7, Quinn broke the pocket on a fourth-down pass play and headed upfield with what looked like plenty of real estate in front of him. As he broke to his right, Jenkins came in pursuit and made an open field tackle to prevent a first down.
"I ran him down," Jenkins laughed. "He never saw me coming."
It was like that all day for the Northport offense. They never saw Jenkins and company coming. Northport was held to 12 yards on the first 14 plays and didn't gain a first down in their first four possessions.
"I thought our defense keyed the win, absolutely," said Floyd coach Paul Longo. Of his 6-1, 195-pound tackle, he said: "Jawan is super strong, very quick and has long arms to make tackles that might look like they're out of reach."
Floyd and Northport waged a defensive battle reminiscent of games played pre-spread offense. Both defensive units came up with numerous stops in a physical affair Saturday.
Floyd (2-0) opened the scoring with a long touchdown drive in the first quarter. Fullback Dashawn Morton capped the 11-play, 80-yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown run up the middle. Pat DeMaio added the extra-point kick for the 7-0 lead with 1:41 left.
The Colonials methodically drove the field mixing it up with four different ball carriers. Halfback Chris Faison keyed the march with 37 yards on three carries, including a third down run for 19 yards. Faison finished with 131 yards on 21 carries.
"They had a tough defense and I had to fight for every yard," said Faison, who had seven first down runs in the game. "This game was a battle."
After another three and out for the Northport offense, Floyd went 57 yards in four plays punctuated by Labate's 18-yard run up the middle. DeMaio's point made it 14-0 with 10:07 left in the half.
"We scored early but it was the defense that won the game for us," Longo said. "We had too many penalties on offense. The defense covered our mistakes."
Faison wasn't just a key factor on the offensive side of the ball. He halted the Tigers fourth possession with a two-handed interception on the home sideline on a third-down pass intended for Ken Radigan.
Faison's 34-yard run early in the third quarter run set up the Colonials for a 20-yard field goal attempt. But DeMaio's kick was blocked and linebacker Travis Mauro scooped the ball and raced 82 yards for the Tigers only score. He went untouched to the end zone as Floyd's players didn't give chase. The Colonials said they heard a whistle blow and stopped playing. Nonetheless, the referee signaled touchdown.
With Floyd reeling from the special teams' gaffe, Northport came away with another big play on the ensuing kickoff. A high kick sailed into the heavy wind and came down untouched and was recovered by Northport's Ryan Carr. The turnover was followed by a 45-yard scramble by Quinn to the Floyd 5-yard line.
But the defense rose and Jenkins corralled Quinn for a 7-yard sack on fourth down stopping the drive.
"Defense wins championships," Jenkins said.