Coming into the 2012 football season, there were a lot of uncertainties at Elmont. With a new offense, a lack of experience at quarterback, and no real go-to player, it was tough to predict how the Spartans would stack up in Conference II.
After last Saturday’s 40-6 victory at Bellmore-JFK, the picture is getting clearer. Elmont is a team to be reckoned with. Quarterback Mike Braun was 8-for-8 passing for 174 yards and three touchdowns, and senior Jaelen Morris had a kickoff return for a touchdown as the Spartans improved to 3-1.
Elmont head coach Jay Hegi likes what he’s getting from his quarterback. “Mike was given a chance to play and he’s thriving,” Hegi said. “He’s a smart player, and a leader. The team is responding to him. With all the weapons we have, when we’re clicking we’re going to be tough to stop.”
Bellmore-JFK got off to a terrific start scoring on its first possession to take a 6-0 lead. However, the Cougars had little to celebrate for the remainder of the day. Morris took the ensuing kickoff 65 yards to tie it.
Senior Calvin Aristide (five carries for 40 yards), one of the county’s fastest backs, scored later in the quarter as the Spartans took a 14-6 lead, and then Elmont’s air attack took flight. Braun hooked up with Daniel Crawford (three receptions for 86 yards) for a 61-yard touchdown reception, and then the senior signal-caller connected with Paul Jean for a pair of scores as the Spartans took a commanding 34-6 halftime lead.
Elmont’s ground game was a force, with seven players combining for 194 yards. Nick Walton carried the ball twice for 67 yards and a touchdown. The defense was led by linebackers Matt Brutus and Nick St. Louis. Brutus, who had four sacks in a 28-6 win over Westbury, has eight sacks in four games.
In the Westbury game, Aristide had three touchdowns as Elmont took a 28-0 lead and never looked back. Bradley Atkins had seven carries for 30 yards as the Spartans got back in the win column after falling to Garden City the previous week.
In the opener, Elmont was dominant after falling behind early. Aristide ran for 98 yards on 10 carries to lead a 26-6 win over Herricks. Reggie Pierre had a pair of interceptions.
The Spartans will have their hands full with games against Wantagh, MacArthur and Carey over the next three weeks. All three teams are 3-1 at the halfway point.
Hegi likes the makeup of his team. “One real positive is the fact that we have a lot of different players to go to,” Hegi said. “Teams can’t key on one guy. Defensively, we’re not big, but we’re pretty quick. If we cover better, and the offensive line keeps improving, we could be pretty good when Week 9 comes around.”
Elmont hits the road this Saturday for a 3 p.m. kickoff at Wantagh.