Roosevelt's firepower was on display Saturday; its defensive firepower that is. Not that its vaunted offense was in silent mode. But the Rough Riders made plenty of noise without the ball, forcing six turnovers that directly led to five touchdowns in a 53-0 victory over West Hempstead in a Nassau IV football game played before an SRO crowd on homecoming at Roosevelt.
"We take pride in our line. We take pride in our defense," said defensive tackle / fullback Rob Hansen. "This is Roosevelt football. We hit."
The Rough Riders hit early and often, led by Stony Brook University-bound defensive end Raymond Jones, who made nine tackles, including three sacks. His first one forced a fumble that Roosevelt recovered on the Rams' 20. Four plays later, Johnnie Akins scored from the 6-yard line for a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Roosevelt belted West Hempstead's running backs so hard and so often that the Rams began fumbling before contact. "With our line, I wouldn't be surprised if they were a little nervous," Hansen said.
It sure looked that way when Enrique McFarlane, held to 20 yards, fumbled without being hit. Hansen grabbed the loose ball and raced untouched 86 yards for a TD that made it 27-0 in the second quarter.
"The play went away from me, but I beat my man and when I saw the ball on the ground, I just scooped it up and started running," Hansen said. "I saw nothing but green grass ahead of me and I saw the West Hempstead guys behind me."
West Hempstead (5-2) turned the ball over on three consecutive possessions early in the fourth quarter. Roosevelt (7-0) scored after the first two and graciously took a knee after the third.
"I like the competition and I like the work," said Akins, who rushed for 176 yards and two touchdowns and made eight tackles. "I have the easy job. I just run fast and let the line do the work."
Hansen contributed 10 tackles, four for losses, and had two fumble recoveries. Linebacker Sam Edouard made seven tackles, including a sack.
"We feel like we have one of the best defensive teams on Long Island," Jones said. "We gave the offense good field position, so they didn't need to have any long drives. We definitely sent a message."
The defense delivered it: There is more to Roosevelt than high-powered offense.