Jordan Fredericks rushes for 123 yards, two touchdowns in Lawrence win
At Lawrence, the Jordan Rules are simple: Get the 5-11, 185-pound junior speedster Jordan Fredericks into open space and let him run wild.
"I love seeing green and getting a chance to show off my speed," Fredericks said with a smile.
Trouble was, Fredericks began the season as a wide receiver and even though he had 10 touchdown receptions in the Golden Tornadoes' first four games, they came on just 14 receptions. "We weren't getting our best player enough touches," Lawrence coach Joe Martillotti admitted.
So after a loss to Plainedge in Week 4 that ended Lawrence's 15-game winning streak, Martillotti implemented his own version of the Jordan Rules and moved Fredericks to running back.
The results have been sensational. Fredericks continued to dominate from the backfield Saturday, rushing for 123 yards and two touchdowns on just 11 carries in the Golden Tornadoes' 42-14 Nassau III victory over host Bethpage. Just for good measure, Fredericks capped scoring by catching a middle screen from Joe Capobianco and using a series of jukes and jumps and, taking advantage of a couple of key blocks, turned it into an 82-yard touchdown pass.
"Jordan's our baby brother and we have to protect him," said linebacker Elijah Jones, who threw the biggest block and also excelled all afternoon on defense with a flurry of tackles and an interception late in the third quarter that set up Capobianco's other TD pass -- an 8-yarder to Sam Locascio.
Capobianco, the Long Island career leader in yards passing and touchdown passes, was 14 of 25 for 247 yards after a rough first quarter that saw him get sacked twice and throw a rare interception. "They loaded the box and came after us in the first quarter," Martillotti said. "Then we adjusted."
So has Fredericks, who said the position switch was a breeze, even though he played wide receiver on the varsity since his freshman year. "I played running back as a kid," Fredericks said. "It was natural for me to go back. Some kids are born to take hits and some kids try to avoid them. I was born to take hits. I got hit a lot on the football field as a kid."
These days, he does the hitting, running over would-be tacklers or spinning out of their grasp . . . when he's not making ankle-breaking cuts to avoid contact altogether. That occurred on his 31-yard touchdown run for Lawrence's first score and also his 39-yard run early in the third quarter that set up the score that put the Golden Tornadoes (7-1) in control with a 28-7 lead. They clinched the No. 2 seed for the playoffs. Bethpage is 6-2.
"He's opened everything in our offense," Martillotti said. "His speed is such a weapon. After the Plainedge game I realized we needed to just line him up in the backfield and let him do what he does best."
Jones and his brother Simon, also a linebacker, did their best to neutralize Bethpage's run-driven wishbone offense, combining for 25 tackles. "We push each other every game," Elijah said. "It's go hard or go home and neither of us wants to go home yet."
But when they do, the Jones boys talk about their tackles over dinner. "We count them up," Elijah said, grinning. "I think I had more today."
It was a feast all around for Lawrence.