After Sayville quarterback Jack Coan ran for 309 yards last October in a 49-17 victory over East Islip, it was no surprise that the Redmen were determined not to let that happen again this year.
“You could see they were concentrating on me,” Coan said. “Sometimes, they would go right by Ashton.”
That would be running back Ashton Bradley, who made East Islip’s defenders pay for neglecting him. Bradley scored on a pair of 64-yard runs, totaled 174 rushing yards on 12 carries and contributed to a strong defensive effort with an interception as Sayville routed host East Islip, 34-13, Saturday in Suffolk III.
“Football is a team game and it’s a chess match,” Coan said. “Sometimes you have to be a pawn. Today, I was the pawn. Everybody else did a great job. Ashton was running great; our defense is always sick; our receivers made great catches and our line just blew them out.”
Coan wasn’t exactly a non-factor. It was the threat of his running — and his pinpoint passing — that opened things up for Bradley. Coan ran for 72 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries, and completed 11 of 14 passes for 129 yards, including a 63-yard scoring strike to Jason Intermesoli (four receptions, 99 yards) that gave Sayville (6-0) a 20-0 lead late in the second quarter. On that play, Intermesoli caught a deep slant in the middle of the field, pivoted sharply to his right and broke to the outside where he picked up a key downfield block from Seamus Burns to score.
Bradley’s first 64-yard TD gallop came on a delay up the middle on the fourth play of the second quarter and his second came with 4:05 left in the third quarter and was the backbreaker for East Islip (4-2). The Redmen had made it 20-7 on a 4-yard run by quarterback Kyle Fleitman (89 yards, two TDs on 24 carries; 57 yards passing on 8 of 18 with two interceptions). But on the first play from scrimmage after a penalty wiped out a nice kickoff return by Jake Kolar, Bradley broke free on a sweep left.
“Ashton was the story today,” Sayville coach Rob Hoss said. “He’s explosive and dynamic and he’s hard to defend. We call him a triple-threat — he can run, he can catch [four receptions] and he can block. He made two big blocks in [isolation] plays on a linebacker that had to outweigh him by 40 pounds. I’m more proud of him for those blocks than I am for his running.”
Bradley, a modest sort who prefers to credit his linemen rather than take credit for his own success, said, “Coach challenged us all week that no one thought we could run on them, and we’re always playing with a chip on our shoulder,” he said.
Asked what he saw on his two long runs, Bradley just smiled and declared, “Open field.”
Sayville’s defense didn’t allow much free space to East Islip. Bradley and Kolar each made an interception, and another starting defensive back, James Lyons, recovered a fumble after Kevin Kolar jarred loose a ball that thwarted a promising East Islip drive.
“We saw everything we prepped for on film,” Lyons said. “We have heart and we’re just a bunch of mean-hittin’ kids.”
And they’re not big kids, either. “We’re not very big up front,” Hoss said, “but we have a relentless pursuit to the ball. We always preach ‘11 hats to the ball’ and we’ve done that in every game.”