The gusts were increasing; the real-feel temperatures were dropping. Both were in the 20s on Friday night, but for Garden City, it was all about the win-chill factor. That was especially true for running back Trevor Yeboah-Kodie, who followed the age-old remedy for dealing with the cold: Just keep moving.
Yeboah-Kodie rushed for 226 yards on 17 carries, with four touchdowns, as the No. 1 Trojans defeated No. 6 Calhoun, 35-14, in a Nassau II semifinal at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.
Garden City, the defending Long Island Class II champion, improved to 10-0 and extended its winning streak to 22 games. The Trojans will play Mepham, a 33-13 winner over Carey, next Friday at Hofstra.
“It makes your hands cold and you saw that,” Yeboah-Kodie said with a teeth-chattering laugh, a reference to his two fumbles in the chill of the night. One of them was recovered by Calhoun early in the third quarter, when Garden City was clinging to a 14-7 lead. “But I knew I had to shake it off.”
Yeboah-Kodie shook his miscue off in a big way. After the Trojans’ defense, aided by a holding call that wiped out a 25-yard Calhoun run by Thomas Casimano, forced a punt. Yeboah-Kodie took a pitchout, took off around right end and made an abrupt cutback across the field for a 76-yard touchdown. The 5-11, 175-junior was hot stuff, and the Colts (6-4) never recovered.
“They were loading everyone inside so we tried to get outside,” Yeboah-Kodie said of his third touchdown. “My downfield blocker [quarterback] Colin Hart did a good job of not blocking their kid in the back and I cut it inside.”
Yeboah-Kodie, who displayed an array of stutter-steps and sharp cuts, was sizzling from the start. On the first drive of the game, he carried for 20 and 23 yards, then finished the sequence off with a 1-yard touchdown run. Calhoun answered on Casimano’s 45-yard scoring dash. He finished with 120 yards on 17 carries.
The Trojans’ defense forced Calhoun to punt late in the second quarter and Yeboah-Kodie took advantage of a short field with a 14-yard run that set up his 20-yard scoring gallop and a 14-7 halftime lead.
Late in the third quarter, James Buckley (6.5 tackles, two sacks) tackled Casimano for a 3-yard loss and then sacked Nicholas Turrini for a huge 18-yard loss that forced a punt into the wind that went only 8 yards to the Calhoun 10. Yeboah-Kodie took a toss right and scooted 10 yards for a 35-7 lead.
“He’s got all the tools. He’s a full-package player,” Garden City coach Dave Ettinger said. “He’s fast, he’s strong and he has good vision.”
Those are the cold, hard facts.