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DeSantis’ versatility will be key for Garden City in Class II title game

Andrew DeSantis #42 of Garden City races downfield

Andrew DeSantis #42 of Garden City races downfield after making an interception in the first quarter of a Nassau County Conference II varsity football game against host Elmont High School on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016. Garden City won by a score of 49-20. Credit: James Escher

Opposing offenses know his name, Andrew DeSantis, and his number, 42. They’ve watched him on film, but they still can’t answer one simple question: Where is the Garden City defensive stalwart coming from?

“Is he a defensive end? Is he a linebacker? Nobody knows what he is,” Garden City coach Dave Ettinger said of the returning Newsday All-Long Island player. “That’s kind of a good thing. He’s really a little bit of everything. He’s played cornerback for us, too, because he’s so versatile.”

It will be up to North Babylon to solve that puzzle when the Bulldogs (10-1) face Garden City (11-0) in the Long Island Class II championship game at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.

North Babylon is 4-2 in the Long Island Championships; the Trojans, who won the title last year and are riding a 23-game winning streak, are 6-8.

DeSantis, the top returning boys basketball scorer in Nassau County with a 24.7 average, is so versatile that he began the season as one of Garden City’s featured running backs.

“Coming into the season, he was going to be a big part of what we were trying to do on both sides of the ball,” Ettinger said. “But he got injured in Week 2 against MacArthur and missed two full games. He got back in Week 5 but wasn’t at full strength until Week 6, and we only played him on defense. He’s been playing a little offense since Week 8.”

That’s been mostly as a blocker for junior speedsters Trevor Yeboah-Kodie (1,167 yards, 26 touchdowns) and Justin Coppola (503 yards, eight TDs), both of whom average more than 10 yards per carry.

“When he’s come back to the offense, I’ve asked him to be a blocker and he’s done that willingly,” Ettinger said. “A lot of the success that Trevor and Justin have had in the playoffs is because of the job Andrew has done at fullback.”

In a 33-0 victory over Mepham in last week’s Nassau II final, in which DeSantis made four tackles and shared a sack, Yeboah-Kodie rushed for 203 yards and three TDs, including a 91-yard run, and averaged 14.5 per carry. Coppola added 118 yards and a touchdown on an 86-yard dash, averaging 11.8.

DeSantis, who is 6-4, 185, again will provide blocking on Friday for his dynamic teammates, but his primary role will be to plug the gaps on defense against the in-your-face, ground-and-pound style of North Babylon. Garden City has posted two playoff shutouts and allowed only 64 points all season.

“Andrew has a knack for getting to the ball, a knack for making plays and a knack for getting to the quarterback,” said Ettinger, well aware that DeSantis won’t be padding his sack total on Friday. “He’s one of the most competitive kids I’ve ever coached. He doesn’t care how or why or who. He just wants to get a ‘W.’ ”

GARDEN CITY

Trojans

No. Player Grade Pos.

10 Kyle Steinbach 12 WR/DB

11 Cole Dutton 12 WR/DE

12 Ford Carney 10 WR/DB

14 Colin Hart 11 QB/DB

15 James Buckley 12 WR/DE

16 Holden Overbeck 10 QB/DB

17 Ryan Bice 11 WR/DB

18 Patrick Leggett 12 WR/DB

20 Liam Griffith 11 WR/DB

21 Aidan Griffin 12 RB/DB

22 Justin Coppola 11 RB/DB

23 Joe Scattareggia 11 WR/DB

24 Trevor Yeboah-Kodie 11 RB/DB

27 Matthew DeSimpliciis 12 RB/LB

30 Matthew Granville* 12 RB/DB

31 Daniel Boccafola 11 QB/DB

32 Christian Smith 11 WR/DB

33 Tyler Wuchte* 12 RB/DB

35 Sean Rode 12 WR/DE

37 Liam Curtin 12 OL/DL

40 Steven Moscatiello 11 OL/DL

41 Will Puccio 11 WR/DB

42 Andrew DeSantis* 12 RB/DE

43 Joseph McDonagh 12 OL/LB

47 Harry Murphy 11 OL/DE

48 Connor Gunn 11 OL/DL

50 Sean Leggett 12 OL/DL

51 Ryan Walsh 12 OL/DL

52 Brian Greene 12 OL/LB

53 Matt McGovern 11 OL/DL

54 Matthew Flanagan 12 OL/LB

55 Kieran Paskewitz 12 OL/DL

56 Sal Ingrassia 12 OL/DL

58 Michael McAuley 12 OL/DL

59 Tim Curran 11 OL/DL

60 Christian Sullivan 10 OL/DL

62 Billy Kephart 10 OL/LB

64 Aidan Pfaff 11 OL/DL

65 Steven Haass 11 OL/DL

66 Steven Spirakis 12 OL/DL/K

67 Dan O’Connor 12 OL/DL

70 Kyle Merritts 11 OL/DL

73 Nick Katos 11 OL/DL

76 Sean Norton 12 OL/DL

77 Michael Liberopoulos* 12 OL/DL

78 Angelo Demiris 11 OL/DL

80 James Cashwell 11 WR/DB

81 Donald Byrne 11 WR/DL

82 John Morris 11 WR/DB

86 Lucas Feingold 11 WR/DB

88 Mike DiPierro 12 TE/DE

Coach Dave Ettinger

TROJANS’

ROAD TO THE LIC

Nassau playoffs

Bellmore JFK 31-0

Calhoun 35-14

County championship

Mepham 33-0

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