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Roosevelt's Shamari Kirkpatrick does Johnnie Akins proud with 183 yards, two TDs

Roosevelt's Shamari Kirkpatrick takes a hand off from

Roosevelt's Shamari Kirkpatrick takes a hand off from Stephan Vailes during the Nassau IV football final on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014 at Hofstra. Credit: James Escher

Shamari Kirkpatrick heard a voice shout his name right before the opening kickoff of Saturday's game.

It surprised the Roosevelt running back so much that it gave him chills.

That's because the voice was Johnnie Akins'. The former Roosevelt running back set the Nassau single-season rushing record with 2,593 yards last season as a senior. Kirkpatrick was his replacement.

It was the first Roosevelt football game Akins watched live after graduating. Because Akins went to SUNY Cortland, he was unable to visit.

"When I heard him, I was just like, 'Oh, wow, Johnnie is here,' " Kirkpatrick said. "I had to play my heart out because my mentor was here. I had to show him what he showed me."

Kirkpatrick displayed why he was the heir apparent.

The senior ran for 183 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries as Roosevelt earned its fourth straight Nassau IV title with a 41-14 win over Mineola at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium.

Kirkpatrick has 2,244 rushing yards, which is second on Long Island behind Plainedge's Davien Kuinlan, who finished with 2,304 yards. Kirkpatrick has the third-most touchdowns on Long Island with 30.

And Kirkpatrick can add to his totals when Roosevelt (10-1) faces Shoreham-Wading River (11-0) at 4:30 p.m. next Sunday at Stony Brook for the L.I. Class IV crown.

After being held to 2 yards on his first four carries, Kirkpatrick broke out. "Perseverance and motivation," he said. "Johnnie Akins taught me that."

He burst up the middle untouched for an 89-yard touchdown run that gave Roosevelt a 13-0 lead with about a minute left in the first quarter.

The big plays didn't end there. Kirkpatrick broke a 58-yard TD run when he burst through a hole on the left side behind Khasan Edwards and continued to the end zone untouched. It made it 27-0 with 5:08 left in the second quarter.

"He's special," Roosevelt coach Joe Vito said. "Having a weapon like that is very important."

Kirkpatrick's focus now is on finding a way to help Roosevelt win its first Long Island championship since 2006.

"From when I moved up, I was behind Johnnie Akins. Then when he was a senior, I was still behind him," said Kirkpatrick, a third-year varsity player. "Now it's up to me to show what I can do and what I got to do."

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