Johnnie Akins ran all over the field Saturday night at Hofstra -- and ran away with the game, to boot. Until, that is, he was forced to limp slowly to the sidelines.
Akins had 23 carries for 260 yards and four touchdowns -- the last coming on a 72-yard sprint that ended with a collision in the end zone -- as No. 3 Roosevelt defeated No. 2 West Hempstead, 45-16, at Shuart Stadium. Roosevelt plays fourth-seeded Valley Stream North in the Nassau IV final at 4 p.m. Saturday at Hofstra.
The sparkplug junior, who now has over 2,200 yards on the season, walked off the field under his own strength, and stayed out of the game with the result well in hand -- thanks, mostly, to his contributions.
He opened the scoring on a 6-yard run off left guard and punched in the two-point conversion to cap a 12-play, 75-yard march that ate up 7:08 for Roosevelt. West Hempstead was more economical in its response. On the second play of the ensuing drive, Tayvon Hall broke free through the middle and cruised for the 63-yard score and the tie with 2:12 left in the first quarter.
The Rough Riders (8-2) seemed to take inspiration -- two plays after that score, Marquell Saunders retook the lead for Roosevelt on a 56-yard run with 1:52 left in the first quarter. The two-point conversion pass failed, but Robert Hansen's 1-yard run padded the lead to 22-8 with 6:53 left in the first half. Hall, meanwhile, scored both of West Hempstead's first half TDs, the second, an 8-yard run with 5:29 left to bring the Rams to within eight points at the half.
On the opening kickoff to begin the second half, Akins wound up with a 72-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Akins picked up the ball as it was about to roll out of bounds near the left sideline, deked two defenders and took off for the 72-yard score. West Hempstead (8-2) threatened on the ensuing drive, getting down to the 8, but fumbled the snap from center to turn the ball over with 7:05 left in the third. Three minutes later, Akins made a return appearance in the end zone, going around right end and streaking up the sideline untouched for the 70-yard score and the 38-16 lead.
Akins has 14 touchdowns on the year and Saturday night added 61/2 tackles. When the game finally ended, he ran to the victory huddle without hindrance -- for Roosevelt, maybe one of the biggest runs of all.