Football players love to talk about sacrifice. Babylon senior Lucas Lassen lived it.
Lassen was the starting quarterback for the Panthers last season, but was asked to shift roles this time around. He moved to tight end on offense and safety on defense to clear the way for junior Joe Young to call signals behind center. After seeing the way Young performed on Wednesday against Center Moriches, Lassen said "I’d do anything for us to win and this was the right thing for us — Joe deserves to be the starting quarterback and he showed why today."
Young rushed for three touchdowns and passed for two more as Babylon rolled past the Red Devils, 41-0, in a Suffolk League VIII victory at the Panthers’ Walter Williams Memorial Field.
He set the tone early by going 61 yards for his first score on the first snap of the game. And he took Babylon down for two more scores on their next two possessions — his 16-yard TD run and a 33-yard touchdown pass to Aidan Killeen — to take a 21-0 lead at the end of one quarter.
Before halftime, Young would find Elijah Kneeland for a 26-yard touchdown connection and would run another in himself from the 3. In total he rushed 13 times for 126 yards and was 5-for-9 passing for 106 yards.
"You come into a game saying ‘we’re ready,’ but when you score on the first play it says you really are," Young said. "I look at this team, the line play and I see a team that could be great."
Babylon returns all five starting offensive linemen and looked like a honed unit, with Dylan Moretti and Matthew Marsden making some huge blocks to pave the way for Young.
"We’re aggressive," Moretti said. "We have experience playing together and we know our strengths and weaknesses. Coming back for a our second year, we know how to play to those strengths."
"We knew we’d be back, so everyone worked hard in the offseason to get stronger," Marsden said.
Panthers coach Rick Punzone approached Lassen with the idea of letting Young step into the quarterback slot and found him surprisingly willing to do it, even though he’d started the previous two seasons. "He might be the most unselfish kid I’ve ever coached," Punzone said. "Luke was our quarterback because he was such a good athlete, but Joe Young is not just an athlete but also a quarterback."
"When I see Joe have a game like this, I love it," Lassen said. "We’re not a bunch of individuals. At Babylon, we play as one. Anyone would do anything for the team to succeed. And with Joe at quarterback, there is no ceiling for this team."