Dylan Laube had the magic touch — from his very first touch of the game.
The tough, quick and shifty Westhampton running back took a handoff, darted outside left end, dashed down the sideline, appeared cornered, cut back against the grain to his right and ran 62 yards to paydirt. “The play was 33 Power. When I see a gap, I hit it hard,” the ever-smiling junior said. “That was fun.”
The fun was just beginning. Laube carried 22 times for 292 yards, including touchdown runs of 62, 69 and 40 yards and he caught a huge 33-yard touchdown pass as host Westhampton surprised preseason No. 1-seed East Islip, 32-17, Friday night in a matchup of two unbeaten Suffolk III teams.
“Westhampton Beach is on the map,” Laube exclaimed after the Hurricanes improved to 3-0.
He was a one-man storm force, adding a sack, a pass breakup and a handful of tackles as Westhampton registered what coach Billy Parry called, “Right up there among the biggest wins we’ve ever had.”
It was never easy, and it wasn’t expected to be against perennially tough East Islip (2-1). Versatile quarterback Kyle Fleitman 77 yards on 22 carries, 147 yards on 14-for-33 passing) gave the Redmen their only lead at 7-6 on a 15-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter.
A 40-yard run by Laube, again around left end, set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Liam McIntyre and the Westhampton defense made its first huge play of the night when Fleitman was stopped on fourth-and-2 at the Hurricanes’ 12.
Three plays later, Laube plunged up the middle, broke two tackles, slipped outside and raced 69 yards for another touchdown and a 19-7 second-quarter lead.
Laube saved his most dazzling magic trick for the third quarter. On second-and-29, he caught the 33-yard TD from Tristan Hogan, despite a defender guarding him so tightly a pass interference flag was thrown.
“We said all week in practice that we would need one big play to win this game,” said Laube, who added several quarterback hurries from his outside linebacker spot. “It was second and long and if we didn’t score there, the game might’ve changed.”
Laube’s leaping catch made it 25-10 and his 40-yard scoring dash — another inside-outside maneuver — made it 32-17 after Fleitman’s 3-yard TD run had cut the deficit to eight points three minutes earlier.
“I can’t believe how well our kids played,” Parry said. “They physically dominated us but we hung in. We bent but we didn’t break.”
And they had Laube, the ultimate breakaway back.