The East Islip line can wear you down. The Redmen like to pound the ball inside and try to break the other team's will.
"We want them to quit," East Islip center Sean Sconone said. "I could see it in their eyes, they wanted no more of us."
East Islip wore down Half Hollow Hills West in the second half of Saturday's 27-14 win in the Suffolk II final at Stony Brook University. The Redmen scored 20 unanswered points and took the game away from Hills West.
"Between the tackles is where we won the game," Sconone said. "That's what happened in the second half, we just kept after them. I've never felt this excited before."
Patrick Fitzpatrick said the Redmen were running the "man wham" play to the left and right to perfection.
Quarterback Jack Hannigan, whom Fitzpatrick called "one of the hardest-running quarterbacks in the county," scored on a 2-yard run with 8:05 left in the fourth quarter to punctuate the win. That touchdown carry came off the right side of the line to seal it.
"We'd double-team their defensive tackle instead of having our left guard match up against their linebacker," said Fitzpatrick, who credited guard Alex Messino for making the double-teaming work. "We ran those plays for 4 to 6 yards on every play. We did it to get the most movement on our line and open up the holes."
After the offensive line did its work, defensive end Jonathan Wilson said the line on the other side of the ball "unleashed" its relentless pursuit of the ballcarriers. East Islip held Hills West scoreless in the final three quarters and to only 44 total yards in the second half.
"We knew what, when, where and how things were going to happen," said Wilson, who played with a cast on his broken right wrist. "All our studying paid off. They couldn't stop us."
Tight end Anthony Nunez and his brother Kyle, a guard, could feel the tide turning on each and every one of Hannigan's runs. The junior rushed for 68 yards on 26 carries.
"Each time we stepped up to the line on both sides of the ball, we were giving it everything we got," Anthony Nunez said. "We had Jack run to the right, to the left and were getting a great push up front. We made them not want to tackle anymore."
Hannigan, who sat comfortably in the pocket most of the day, completed 8 of 12 passes for 140 yards. His 18-yard touchdown pass to John Sihpol gave East Islip the lead for good at 21-14 with 30 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Right guard Jared Coupe smiled at that point.
"We controlled the situation," Coupe said. "No individual work done in this game. Everyone counts on each other."
They all delivered.