Andrew DeSantis had two days. Two days to revel. Two days to reflect. Two days to switch gears. Then it was back to business.
First, the revelry, because he certainly deserved it. The Garden City running back/defensive end/linebacker/do-it-all hybrid scored twice in the Trojans’ 24-6 victory over North Babylon in the Long Island Class II championship game on Nov. 24 at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.
The performance, surprising to most who watched running back Trevor Yeboah-Kodie carry the Garden City offense all season, earned DeSantis Newsday Athlete of the Week honors.
DeSantis ran for a 38-yard touchdown with 6:36 left in the first quarter and, showing that his skill set knows no bounds, caught a 60-yard touchdown pass later in the game that gave Garden City a 17-6 lead.
This was the definition of a sneak attack. DeSantis tore the UCL in his elbow in Week 2 and, although he returned in Week 5, didn’t play at full strength until Week 6. He played mostly defense until the playoffs, letting his elbow heal a little more and watching Yeboah-Kodie score 29 touchdowns leading up to the Long Island Championships.
So the offense was doing just fine. But you can never have too much of a good thing — and that’s where DeSantis came in.
“Coach [Dave Ettinger] just ran a few plays during practice once or twice that might be able to work and, obviously, it paid off,” said DeSantis, a two-time Newsday All-Long Island first- team selection. “ . . . I definitely don’t think that [North Babylon] was going through practice looking at what I could possibly run, because I hadn’t in seven weeks. It definitely caught them off guard. I don’t think they were ready for it.”
No one was, and that was the beauty of it.
“They were keying on Trevor a lot, so we thought we’d be able to slip me out,” DeSantis said.
Then DeSantis got back to business. Almost as soon as the LIC was over, he hit the gym. After all, basketball practice started on Monday, and those unforgiving rims don’t really care how many touchdowns you scored the week before.
“We had a week and a half to learn stuff that other teams had been doing for three weeks,” DeSantis said of Garden City’s preseason practices, which were abbreviated because of the football team’s run to the title. “I think we have a very smart team this year. We’re all coming back from last year when we were all juniors and sophomores. I think we’ll be ready to go and I think we’ll have a good season.”
DeSantis, a 6-4 small forward and shooting guard, averaged 26 points and seven rebounds last year. While his fall focus was on football, the senior would go to the gym each weekend and shoot around with his basketball teammates while they went through fall practices.
Garden City’s first game is Saturday against St. Anthony’s, and DeSantis has no fear that the relative lack of practice will hurt his team.
“We’ll be ready to go,” he said.
And it’s a safe bet they will. After all, DeSantis is always full of surprises.