Westhampton fullback Liam McIntyre called it one of the greatest runs you’ll ever see — even though it went only two yards.
It was a statement play for both teams on fourth-and-goal from the 2 in Westhampton’s 28-14 victory over Half Hollow Hills West in the Suffolk III championship game on Saturday at Stony Brook University’s LaValle Stadium.
Hills West needed a big stop in the red zone and Westhampton was looking to regain the lead midway through the second quarter. “I told Dylan we score or the drive dies at the goal line,” McIntyre said of halfback Dylan Laube. “I knew he’d get it done.”
McIntyre led Laube on a sweep left and cleaned the end as Laube bounced outside and was met by a horde of defenders.
Laube, who gained 185 yards on 29 carries and scored four touchdowns, was hit by three tacklers as the defense stretched the run toward the sideline. He shed the first hit, buried a stiff-arm into the chest of the second tackler, tossing him aside, and knocked the third tackler off his feet. As three defenders lay prone, the determined Laube jetted to the pylon for his second touchdown, putting the Hurricanes ahead for good at 13-7.
“It was a basic sweep and Hills West clogged the hole really good,” said Laube, who has 39 touchdowns this season. “I bounced it outside and they were coming hard on me. So I threw a nice stiff-arm.”
Westhampton (11-0), which won the Suffolk title for the first time since 1989 and earned its first appearance in the Long Island Championships, will meet Lawrence (10-1) next Sunday at noon at Stony Brook University.
“Phenomenal touchdown run, pure Dylan Laube,” Westhampton coach Bill Parry said. “He scores touchdowns that leave you shaking your head. It’s amazing.”
The stunning visual was a testament to Laube’s impact. He singlehandedly beat the Hills West defense on the play. “He gets through the tightest gaps in the defense and makes big plays,” Westhampton guard Kurt Mion said. “He finds holes that aren’t there and creates opportunities.”
An eight-play, 80-yard drive punctuated by Laube’s 24-yard touchdown run gave the Hurricanes a 21-7 lead with 11:22 left in the game. “The guys up front for us are a difference-maker,” Laube said. “They’ve worked their tails off to make this possible. We’ve dreamed about being here and winning a title, and now it’s a reality.”
Colts receiver Justin Brown caught a 70-yard touchdown pass from Gerald Filardi to make it 21-14 with 11:11 left, but Laube’s 6-yard run with 1:42 remaining capped a seven-play, 64-yard drive for the final margin.
Nolan Quinlan intercepted Filardi’s final pass in the Colts’ end zone with three seconds left.
Westhampton opened the scoring after defensive back Jaden Alfano-St. John intercepted a pass on third-and-13 at the Hurricanes’ 45. Westhampton capitalized on the turnover when Laube followed a block by McIntyre over the left side and cut back untouched for a 5-yard touchdown run. Charles Fee’s kick made it 7-0.
Hills West (8-3) responded on its next possession. Junior halfback Deyvon Wright broke a 65-yard touchdown run and Peter Adler’s kick made it 7-7 with 4:38 left in the first quarter.
“They caught us on a few big plays,” Parry said. “But our guys came up with crucial stops when they needed them.”
The Hurricanes then drove 66 yards in 13 plays, capped by Laube’s spectacular 2-yard run. The drive was keyed by a fake punt in which Laube ran for 16 yards and a first down. An unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty added another 15 yards, putting the ball at the Colts’ 19.
Hills West missed two scoring opportunities between the second and third quarters. The Colts drove 77 yards and missed a 20-yard field goal just before time expired in the first half. Hills West then opened the third quarter with a 17-play, 67-yard drive that consumed 8:38 before a 33-yard field-goal attempt went wide left.
“We have a bend-but-don’t- break mentality on our defense,” McIntyre said. “We seem to dig deep when teams get near our end zone.”