Garden City senior Chris Mixon has a vivid memory of the last time he played at Elmont, two years ago. It has nothing to do with the rainy, muddy conditions on a tattered grass field that is now sparkling turf, nor was his team’s victory particularly noteworthy. Except for one little occurrence.
“I dropped a pass right here. It slipped out of my hands and the coaches never let me forget it,” Mixon said.
He was grinning when he recounted the moment, because Mixon is now a preferred target when Garden City elects to pass, and his coaches have certainly gotten over that drop. Mixon caught TD passes of 69 and 19 yards Saturday, and also ran for two scores in the Trojans’ 49-20 victory over Elmont in a Nassau II duel of unbeaten teams.
“My receiving has definitely improved,” Mixon said, and his coach, Dave Ettinger confirmed that has been the case beginning last season.
“We haven’t had to throw much because we’ve had success with our run game,” Ettinger said of the 4-0 Trojans. “But we have a lot of athletes that can make plays. Last year we really had only two guys. Our numbers have been pretty balances and we can spread the ball around.”
Mixon epitomized that diverse offense. He scored the game’s first two touchdowns on sweeps around right end for five and 15 yards. The first was set up by a poor snap on a punt that set Garden City up on the Elmont 7 and the second came after an interception by Andrew DeSantis at the Elmont 30.
Then Mixon broke free on a screen pass from sophomore QB Colin Hart (4-for-5, 151 yards, two TDs) for 69 yards on the first series of the second half to put the Trojans on top 35-8, a play that barely clicked, and caught a 19-yard TD pass from Jack Bill (3-for-3, 45 yards, two TDs) to make it 49-14 in the fourth quarter. Billy Rousakis was 7-for-7 on extra points.
“The screen pass almost got picked. The guy read it well and I barely caught it in my biceps,” Mixon said of the effort by Darian Spencer that almost blew up the play. “Then I was clear. Our linemen read it well.”
Another big-play maker for Garden City was Tyler Wuchte who caught a 62-yard TD pass from Hart and raced 37 yards for another score on a jet sweep, his only carry. “The pass was a special play that we put in this week,” Wuchte said. “We saw something on film and we put in a wrinkle. We were able to throw it over the top of the mike linebacker.”
Elmont (3-1) never recovered from those two early mistakes and the Trojans’ big-play offense, though their dart-throwing quarterback Aaron Ruthman passed for 204 yards and three touchdowns, two to Chester Anderson and another to Lemar Thompson. But forced to throw often because of the large early deficit, Ruthman only managed to complete 15 of 32 passes against the Trojans’ pursuing defense that didn’t have to worry much about the Spartans’ running game. Matthew DeSimplicis made one early sack and shared another one and the Trojans constantly harassed Ruthman.
“We got pressure on their quarterback which was key. He’s a good one,” Ettinger said. “We’ve got some athletes on defense, too.”