Roosevelt's Johnnie Akins gets Nassau rushing mark, but he wanted LI title

Roosevelt running back Johnnie Akins carries the ball Roosevelt running back Johnnie Akins carries the ball during the Long Island Class IV championship. (Nov. 29, 2013) Photo Credit: James Escher

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Johnnie Akins, Raymond Jones and Robert Hansen arrived at the Long Island Class IV championship game with class and left that way, too.

Win or lose, that's the sentiment the senior co-captains share with the rest of their Roosevelt teammates before and after each game.

So after Akins set the Nassau single-season rushing record in the Rough Riders' 27-26 loss to Babylon Friday at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium, the running back wasn't in the mood to talk about individual stats.

"I don't care about the record," said Akins, who gained 71 yards on 11 carries and finished with 2,593 rushing yards to break the record of 2,541 set by Holy Trinity's Anthony Brunetti in 2009. "All I cared about was going out with a win. That's the honest truth."

Roosevelt (11-1), which took a 26-12 lead when Shamari Kirkpatrick returned the second-half kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown, trailed 27-26 when it took over at its 5-yard line in the final minutes after Babylon (12-0) turned it over on downs.

Akins took the first-down handoff 22 yards before the Panthers' Jake Carlock intercepted a pass with 1:36 remaining.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"As you can see, we played hard," Akins said. "I wish we could have finished stronger. It was a hell of a game. They fought, we fought and it came down to who made the better plays."

Jones made a couple of big plays. His 79-yard touchdown run on Roosevelt's first play from scrimmage tied it at 6 with 8:31 left in the first quarter. After Kirkpatrick took the opening kickoff to the house to start the second half, Jones' two-point conversion run gave Roosevelt a 14-point lead.

"We never stopped fighting," said Jones, who gained 107 yards on nine carries. "I think we could have converted more of our extra points and two-point conversions."

The Rough Riders were successful on only one of four two-point conversion tries.

"One point is anybody's game," said Hansen, a fullback/defensive tackle who also played quarterback at times yesterday and completed 3 of 5 passes for 119 yards with a touchdown and an interception. "That's a great team. It's hard to keep a team like that down, but we stuck with them."

Even with Akins hampered by turf toe. Rough Riders coach Joe Vito called him one of the best players in Roosevelt history.

"We didn't want to stress [the toe], so we couldn't get him the ball 20, 30 times like we're used to," Vito said. "We tried to do some things that we've done in practice, like getting the ball to other people."

You also may be interested in: