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Wantagh seeks continued tradition of reaching playoffs

Wantagh's Dylan Beckwith rushes for a gain during

Wantagh's Dylan Beckwith rushes for a gain during the second quarter of a Nassau II varsity football game against Mepham on Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. Photo Credit: James Escher

Tradition never graduates, especially at Wantagh High School.

Led by coach Keith Sachs, the Warriors have made the playoffs in 19 of the past 20 seasons. In an environment where turnover is inevitable from year to year, Sachs leans on coaching philosophy to bridge the gap between teams.

"If you teach the program from the bottom up and have a philosophy, you don't worry about if you have a good team, or a bad team or a great team," Sachs said on Thursday at preseason camp. "You always expect to make the playoffs."

Sachs said this year's Wantagh team is unique in that there are a bevy of three-year starters returning for a fourth varsity season. Quarterback Rob Tucker should find success in his second year running the comprehensive offensive scheme. He's a patient passer who isn't afraid to wait in the pocket for plays to develop down the field.

But he gets significant help from senior Dylan Beckwith, one of the aforementioned three-year starters. Incredibly quick off the line, Beckwith said he prefers the slot but also exceeds on the outside. That's likely where he and Tucker will hook up on more than one occasion during the season.

Beckwith, a two-way player, also is a cornerback who teammate Kyle Sliwak compares to a current NFL star.

"As a corner, he's shutdown," Sliwak said. "It's like having Darrelle Revis on your side."

Beckwith is one of the team's leaders both on and off the field. Senior Corey Sachs, son of the coach, said that teammates look to Beckwith to set an example.

"He sets the bar," he said. "We just have to be what he is. We just have to follow what he does and work hard."

Beckwith said his goal is to help the team win -- regardless of what side of the ball he's lined up on.

He thinks it's important that the younger players understand the Warriors' tradition so they can better grasp the importance of working diligently each day in practice.

The younger Sachs said the biggest thing motivating the team early in camp is history.

"[History] sets the standard," he said. "You don't want to be the team that makes it 19 of the last 21."

Expectations around camp are to win the Nassau II championship at season's end. Led by Beckwith, the Warriors have the talent and experience to make it happen.


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