The second-longest winning streak on Long Island has met its end, as the Lawrence Golden Tornadoes simply could not withstand the power and speed of running back Jude Innocent, who led the Roosevelt Rough Riders to a 44-14 win Saturday.
It was the first time two teams with four straight appearances in the Long Island Championship game played each other in Long Island history.
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Innocent, who transferred from Brentwood for his senior season, lived up to the hype surrounding his debut. He carried the ball 16 times for 302 yards and five touchdowns. His TD runs were from 2, 51, 42, 60 and 65 yards out. Four of his scores were on the first play of a drive.
"A star may have been born today," Roosevelt head coach Joe Vito said. "I didn't know exactly what we were getting, and now I have a pretty good idea."
Innocent showed a second burst of speed that the Lawrence secondary could not match. It was a second gear that not a person on the field could duplicate.
It was the Jude Innocent show.
The new star of Roosevelt football was humble after the game, attributing most of his success to the outstanding play of his offensive line.
"My o-line and my fullback, they made their blocks," Innocent said. "They drove them back. They got their blocks. They did what they had to do."
Coach Vito and Innocent specifically pointed to Willock, Chukwuma Ukwu and Deandre Johnson, who routinely overpowered an aggressive Lawrence defense. "It was just simple execution," Vito said. "They've been working on it, and they executed well."
The blockers made finding holes easier for Innocent, but the running back never stopped moving his feet and pushing the pile. On more than one occasion, the defense appeared to have Innocent locked up before he broke free for a huge gain.
After a scoreless first quarter, Innocent punched it in from two yards out on the first play of the second. After a short possession by Lawrence, Innocent took the first play of the drive for 51 yards. His next carry -- also Roosevelt's next offensive play -- was a 42-yard score. Three straight carries, three straight touchdowns.
He then added scoring runs of 60 and 65 in the third quarter. He did not have a carry in the fourth, but intercepted a pass.
Innocent said he expected this performance, but could not hold back an ear-to-ear smile.
Moving forward, Roosevelt will not be taking anything for granted.
"This is a nice win," Vito said. "But no matter what happens, you still have to get ready for next week."
Roosevelt faces Hewlett at home in Week 2.