It was Jack Coan's arm that accomplished many feats last year, when he threw for more yards (3,431) and more touchdowns (40) than any other quarterback in Long Island history.
This year, with teams gearing up to stop Sayville's passing game, it is Coan's feet that are keeping opponents an arm's length away. And the feats just keep on coming.
Coan rushed for 309 yards on 25 carries, including a bloop (a 2-yard dive) and a blast (an 84-yard scamper), to lead Sayville to a 49-17 victory over host East Islip Saturday in a highly anticipated Suffolk III showdown before an overflow crowd of more than 3,500 fans at Sal Ciampi Field at Boomer Esiason Stadium.
"He played like a Division I quarterback today," Sayville coach Rob Hoss said after the Golden Flashes improved to 6-0 and dropped East Islip to 5-1.
That's because Jack was Double Scoop Coan. The rushing was impressive, of course, but he also completed 10 of 15 passes for 140 yards and three touchdowns to move within 26 yards of Sayville's Steven Ferreira as Suffolk's all-time career leader in passing yards. Ferreira totaled 6,407 yards from 2009-11. Coan, a junior, has 6,381.
Jason Intermesoli caught touchdown passes of 13 and 27 yards and booted all seven PATs. Ashton Bradley contributed 69 yards rushing, including a 43-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, plus a 21-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. James Lyons had a touchdown run and an interception.
Coan, who has seven Division I scholarship offers, already was on the major-college radar for his strong, accurate arm. So it's no surprise that the preferred strategy of Sayville opponents this season is to make Coan beat them with his feet.
"Teams have been trying to stop us from throwing downfield, so Jack has been running all year," Hoss said. Saturday's bonanza boosted Coan's rushing yardage for the season to 753. He also has passed for 1,205 yards, completing 65 percent of his passes.
"I challenged him in the offseason,'' Hoss said. "I told him if he didn't get bigger, faster and stronger, forget the ACC, forget the Big Ten, he wouldn't even be a Division I quarterback. That's not the truth, but I did get under his skin. And if you challenge Jack, he will fight you."
So Coan, who grew to 6-31/2, hit the weight room, added 10 pounds to 187 and improved his speed. His footwork has always been exemplary.
"Coach calls me 'slow' and that gets me mad," Coan said with a grin. "Every game is different, but today there were a lot of designed runs. I'll look to pass, but if it's not there, I'll run. My perspective is to do whatever it takes to win the game."
It took a little of everything Saturday. East Islip hung in during an exciting first half behind its own two-way threat, quarterback Kyle Fleitman (10-for-19 passing, 184 yards, two touchdowns; 12 carries, 92 yards). The Redmen trailed only 14-10 at halftime after stopping Sayville at the 1-yard line on the final play before the break.
But after Nick Casazza's interception of Fleitman on the opening series, Sayville marched 80 yards on 16 plays, finishing with Coan's 2-yard dive on fourth-and-1.
The Golden Flashes broke it open with a four-touchdown fourth quarter that included Coan's signature play -- a "designed" 84-yard run in which he broke free up the middle out of the shotgun-spread formation, cut to the outside and showed off his newfound speed.
After an active afternoon of showing off his arm and his legs, Coan wiped the sweat from his face and boldly declared, "I never get tired."