In the past, Brian Wint would have wanted the ball in his hands every time. The Sewanhaka running back wanted to leave his imprint on every play.
"I do a lot for this team and I'm not a selfish person," Wint said. "I used to be very selfish and think more about myself. Now, it's about the team and I see it."
The Indians couldn't be happier. Wint threw a touchdown, rushed for a score, had an interception and gained 144 yards on 17 carries in Sewanhaka's 20-14 win over host Hewlett yesterday in Nassau Conference III football.
"He's starting to adjust," Sewanhaka coach George Kasimatis said. "He's playing when he doesn't get the ball. I just told him the other day he's becoming more of a football player. He's encouraging other kids to do better. He used to go only 1,000 miles when he got the ball. Now he goes 1,000 miles all the time."
Wint was a quarterback on the junior varsity and occasionally gets to throw. He flashed his arm by taking a toss from quarterback Isiah Pollack and sprinted toward the sideline, stopped and unleashed a perfect throw to wide receiver Joshua Castro. He had one step on the cornerback and hauled in the ball with his fingertips for a 45-yard TD to give Sewanhaka a 20-7 lead with 16 seconds left in the first half.
"My running back looked like a quarterback out there," Sewanhaka's Shireem Cobb said. "They didn't know if he was going to run it or throw it."
Said Castro: "We go over the play in the classroom. We run it until we perfect it. It was a great throw and great coverage."
The play works for the Indians since the offensive line gets a big push and opens up lanes for the running backs. Cobb rushed for 168 yards on 27 carries and a TD and Keenan Woods had 16 carries for 103 yards.
Sewanhaka (5-1) opened the game with a 14-play drive and didn't score, but Cobb capped a 13-play drive with a 2-yard run for a 7-0 lead with 9:59 left in the first half. Alex Kahn hit Lenny Canales for a 74-yard wide receiver screen to tie the score at 7 three plays later.
Wint scored on a 38-yard run on the ensuing drive to give the Indians a 14-7 lead. The Indians ran 41 first-half plays to 11 for Hewlett (4-2).
The Hewlett defense played better in the second half and took advantage when a punt went over the head of Wint, giving the Bulldogs the ball at the Sewanhaka 33. Kahn connected with Canales on a 7-yard pass to convert a fourth down. On the next play, Kahn hit Sam Martorella for a 23-yard TD to bring Hewlett within 20-14 with 10:15 left in the game.
Sewanhaka took over at its own 40 after the kickoff went out of bounds and faced fourth-and-10 at the Hewlett 23. Pollack threw a screen to Woods, who got taken down right at the first down marker. After a measurement, the ball was a foot short.
Hewlett started at its own 13 with 7:16 left. The first play went for a 34-yard screen from Kahn to Canales. The Bulldogs drove to the 23, but were stopped on fourth down.
"Our defense steps up [near] the red zone," Cobb said. "We love defending our goal. We're mad we gave up 14 points."
Sewanhaka took over with 4:26 left and moved down the field with its running game, getting to the 13-yard line before running out the clock.
"We have so many weapons," Cobb said. "You don't know who to stop."
Wint is the prime example.
"He could be our quarterback if it wasn't for Isiah," Kasimatis said. "He could do everything. He punts and he could kick field goals if we needed him to."