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LIC Class III: Lawrence believes Christian Rodas will be the key to stopping Dylan Laube

Christian Rodas #9 of the Lawrence Golden Tornadoes

Christian Rodas #9 of the Lawrence Golden Tornadoes tackles Jimmy Joyce #33 of the Wantagh Warriors on Oct. 8, 2016, at host Wantagh. Credit: Anna Sergeeva

Eleven teams have tried. Eleven teams have failed. The mission is to stop Westhampton’s Dylan Laube and it has been mission impossible all season. Lawrence hopes it has the solution in middle linebacker Christian Rodas.

“That will be the matchup. It will be him tackling Laube,” Lawrence coach Joe Martillotti said of Sunday’s Long Island Class III championship game at noon on Sunday at Stony Brook’s LaValle Stadium that matches the Golden Tornadoes (10-1) against the Hurricanes (11-0). Lawrence is looking for its sixth LIC victory in its 10th visit.

Westhampton is here for the first time, primarily because of Laube, who has rushed for 2,453 yards and 36 touchdowns. The 5-11, 188-pound running back can get outside with his quickness and, despite his modest size, can take on tacklers inside as well.

Rodas expects to be Laube’s shadow. His relentless pursuit earned him Nassau III Player of the Year honors, quite an achievement in a conference that included stellar running backs like Roosevelt’s Kevon Hall and the Golden Tornadoes’ own Chris Collier.

“He’s our leading tackler and he’s the glue that holds it together,” Martillotti said of Rodas, who made seven tackles as part of a unit that outlasted Wantagh, 21-10, in last week’s Nassau III final that was a taut, defensive struggle featuring hard hitting on both sides. Susquan Stays (10 tackles, including 2 1⁄2 sacks) also had a big game.

“They can run away from Susquan,” Martillotti said of his bruising outside linebacker/defensive end. “But you can’t run away from Chris. He’s consistently in the middle of things.”

Rodas, a 6-0, 220-pound senior with a nonstop motor, doesn’t get many sacks, but he’s still in opponents’ backfields frequently. “We don’t blitz him much. But he still gets tackles for loss,” Martillotti said. Rodas had two tackles for losses against Wantagh.

Even if Laube, as expected, breaks some big runs on Sunday — he has seven 200-plus games this season and averages 11 yards a carry — Rodas will, Martillotti assured, “track that kid down. He’s one of the best all-around linebackers we’ve ever had. He plays in coverage. He runs sideline to sideline. He runs downhill. He’s very physical and moves well for a kid his size.”

Lawrence’s success in the Long Island championships has mostly been built around superior, speed offenses, and this year is no exception. Collier, a senior, had a breakout season with 1,513 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns, while elusive junior quarterback Christian Fredericks, the fifth and last of the Fredericks brothers who have excelled at Lawrence, has rushed for 744 yards and nine TDs while adding another 684 yards passing and eight TDs. Rodas gets the occasional carry but mostly is a solid lead blocker.

“We have a lot of real good players,” Martillotti said, “but he [Rodas] is the one that consistently stands out in every game.”

LAWRENCE

GOLDEN TORNADOES

No. Player Grade Pos.

1 Christian Fredericks 11 QB

2 Carlos Duran 12 WR/DB

3 Isaiah Godwin 12 WR/DB

4 Jordan Alexander 11 WR/DB

5 Jordan Amezquita 12 DB

6 NJ Serrette 12 QB

7 Keaton Goldsby 11 WR

8 Suquan Stays 12 RB/LB

9 Christian Rodas 12 RB/LB

10 Norell Folawiyo 11 WR

11 Aaron Jackson 12 RB/LB

12 Patricio Cave 10 WR/DB

14 Dylan Wright 11 WR/DB

21 Hector Retana 12 LB

22 Chris Collier 12 RB

24 Jordan Vivian 12 WR/DB

30 Muhammed Hamad 12 LB

32 Aaron Degrafenreid 12 WR/DB

35 Jared Gillis 11 LB

40 Danny Reyes 10 K

42 Andres Duran 9 RB/LB

44 Keijohn Graham 12 RB/LB

50 Jeavon Johnson 11 OL/DL

51 Donovan Batista 12 OL/DL

52 Nick Pasquariello 11 LB

53 Elijah Washington 11 OL

55 David Grayson 12 OL/DL

56 Mike Cuestes 11 LB

57 Roshawn Hines 10 DL

62 Josiyah Reed 10 LB

65 Justin Moya 11 OL/DL

66 Malakih Durrant 10 OL/DL

67 Deion Brown 11 OL/DL

70 Keith Woods 12 OL

74 David Manara 10 OL/DL

75 Devin Edwards 10 DL

79 Yuri Martinez 9 OL

80 Ryan Levey 11 DB

82 Eric Hwang 10 RB/DE

88 Santino Dalmazio 12 WR/DB

Coach Joe Martillotti

GOLDEN

TORNADOES

ROAD TO THE LIC

NASSAU III playoffs

Hewlett 41-7

Bethpage 35-13

County championship

Wantagh 21-10

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