West Hempstead's Enrique McFarlane is a two-way threat
VideosHigh school football videos
On his first carry of the 2013 season, Enrique McFarlane became a prophet.
"I even told my coach at practice and my linemen, 'Just make good blocks and I promise you I'll score,' " West Hempstead's 6-2, 210-pound senior running back/linebacker said. "They made their blocks, I got the ball, I made one man miss and I got to the corner and I was gone. I really wanted to score badly. It felt pretty good when I got to the end zone."
It was a toss-left out of the old-school double-wing with two tight ends and a full-house backfield and just like that, McFarlane and the Rams were on the board. For both, the points and yards are piling up so far this season.
FACEBOOK: Like us at facebook.com/NewsdayHSSports for videos, photos, stats and more.
"With the type of offense we run, any play you can get tackled in the backfield or break a long run," said McFarlane, who has been doing a lot more of the latter. In West Hempstead's first three games -- a 42-13 victory over Cold Spring Harbor, a 56-21 victory over Clarke and a 35-7 victory over Mineola -- McFarlane has scored seven touchdowns. He has totaled 450 yards on 22 carries for an 20.5 average. What bout his fifth touchdown? That was a mere 70-yard jaunt on a kickoff return.
"Once I get to the outside," said a smiling McFarlane, a top sprinter on the Rams' spring track team, "there are not many people that I'm going to allow to catch me."
McFarlane has company in the big-play department. Bruce Gibbs has scored on touchdown runs of 56 and 47 yards and Jarhari Creightney has a 60-yard TD run. "We go 11-on-11 in the box. The hole cracks open for a brief period of time and you have to know where it's going to be," West Hempstead coach Dom Carre said. "Everyone wants to take away our power runs so we say, 'OK, we'll run right around you.' "
McFarlane loves the toss play that gives him more room to maneuver, but doesn't shy away from the contact that comes with power running inside that is the cornerstone of the Rams' offense. "They're supposed to be 3-yard gains," Carre said of many of the Rams' straight-ahead runs. "I preach to him, 'Look, I'm not going to yell at you for going 70 yards, but get me the dirty three yards first before you look for the 70.' If you don't wrap him up, he's running for a touchdown."
That was evident on the final touchdown of West Hempstead's victory over Clarke last weekend. McFarlane appeared trapped in the backfield after taking a handoff, but 55 yards later, he was celebrating in the end zone. "He was pretty much stopped and then he palmed the guy right off his body," Carre marveled. "It was one of the most athletic plays I've seen."
It is McFarlane's athleticism that has drawn serious interest from Bryant -- "I'd love to play for them," McFarlane said of the Division I-FCS school in Rhode Island -- and allows him to also excel as the team's roving middle linebacker
"I think he's a better linebacker than he is a running back," Carre said. "Running the ball, he's just a man out there. Defensively, he does a good job reading the plays, dropping into pass coverage and fitting in the right spot. He's more of a natural linebacker than he is a runner."
Despite his fondness for the big play on offense, McFarlane doesn't disagree. "I'd rather hit someone than have someone run full speed at me and me be the one that gets hit," he said. "If I can't get bigger in college to play linebacker, I'd love to play safety."
McFarlane smiles easily but is serious during games. "I don't say a word, except when I have to on defense," he said.
Observed Carre, "He's quiet; you never hear 'boo' from him until after a big hit. Then he gets excited."
And the Rams reap the profits.