Say one thing for Dylan Laube — he is a good listener.
Westhampton assistant coach Mark Johnson had a message for the Hurricanes senior running back late in the third quarter of a Suffolk II football game against Half Hollow Hills West.
“ ‘Now is the time that you finish them,’ ” said Johnson to Laube. “And he did it.”
Indeed he did. Laube had a pair of fourth-quarter scoring runs of 63 and 9 yards, and had another touchdown earlier on a 92-yard punt return, as visiting Westhampton knocked off host Hills West, 33-7, Saturday.
Laube rushed 25 times for 216 yards. Not bad for a player, who sat out practice all week with a twisted ankle until Friday’s walk-through.
“He’s a warrior,” said Westhampton coach Bill Parry of Laube. “He’s a physical football player, and he’s the real deal.”
After both teams traded early scores, Laube returned a punt 92 yards along the Westhampton sideline as the Hurricanes led 13-7 with 3:27 left in the first quarter. Junior quarterback Clarke Lewis, who earlier threw a 55-yard scoring pass, scampered in from 13 yards as Westhampton (2-0) took a 19-7 lead into halftime.
Hills West, the defending Suffolk II champ and the preseason top-seeded team in Suffolk III, managed just 27 yards of offense in the first half. An electrifying first quarter, 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Jeff Terry and a Peter Adler PAT were the only points that the Colts (1-1) would manage.
“We gave up so many points last week,” said Parry, whose team outlasted Bellport, 42-38 in Week 1. “But our defensive coaching staff had a great scheme and it worked out really well.”
What makes the effort and result even more impressive was that Westhampton was missing five starters due to injuries, including junior fullback Liam McIntyre. Sophomore Shavar Coffey stepped in and rushed nine times for 38 yards, and junior halfback Tyler Nolan had 48 yards on nine carries. Lewis was 5 of 12 passing for 83 yards and a score, and added three carries for 17 yards.
Parry highlighted seniors Kurt Mion and Craig Connor, junior Jake Bennett (fumble recovery), and Coffey on defense. Senior Matt Anastasia had a key interception late in the third quarter to thwart a Hills West drive deep in Westhampton territory.
Then Laube took over. The 5-11, 185-pounder, who had just 51 yards at halftime, silenced the home side with a spectacular 63-yard touchdown run with 8:47 remaining and closed his afternoon with a 9-yard TD run that came with 75 seconds left.
“I knew I had to make that one big play which I did, but I have to give credit to my line, too,” said Laube, who felt he was at 85 percent for the game. “I didn’t have my best game, but the whole team had to step up as a unit, and they did.”