Schweitzer etches name in the record books
Isaiah Barnes. Zach Sirico. Saturday evening, Babylon's Eric Schweitzer etched his name among the giants of Long Island Championships past, scoring six touchdowns to tie the record for most rushing scores in a title game.
Here are some more names, perhaps lesser known: John Dertinger, Joe Cosby, Matt Pinto, Jeann Cruz and Andrew Watson. They form the offensive line that helped him do it.
"Any time you score six touchdowns, it's a phenomenal job,'' coach Rick Punzone said. "But I'll tell you right now, Eric is running through those holes untouched, so hats off to the offensive line . . . because I could have run through those holes.''
Schweitzer did seem to score with the greatest of ease. Babylon? Well, it won its first Class IV title since 2008 with the greatest of ease, too, defeating Roosevelt, 48-18, at Stony Brook's LaValle Stadium.
Schweitzer (126 yards on 18 carries) ran off left guard and off right, cruised in off center and turned corners around the tackles.
The Panthers (12-0) clinched the fifth undefeated season in program history and their fourth perfect campaign.
"This is the best football game I've played in my life,'' said Schweitzer, a junior. "I've got to give credit to the line, though. They did everything and I ran through the holes . . . I knew I had to get in space and make some moves. I scored six touchdowns, so I guess I did a pretty good job.''
Schweitzer not only scored plenty but did it when it counted, kicking off the day with a 4-yard TD 48 seconds into the game. On Babylon's first play from scrimmage, Nick Santorelli hit Jake Carlock on a deep go route for a 35-yard gain. Two plays later, Schweitzer was in the end zone.
Santorelli's 67-yard run up the right sideline provided a 13-point lead with 7:35 left in the first quarter. Though Roosevelt's Marquell Saunders provided some razzle-dazzle on the next possession -- an over-the-shoulder 60-yard TD reception against double-coverage and despite a pass-interference call -- the Panthers were undeterred. Schweitzer scored back-to-back-to-back touchdowns on runs of 7, 1 and 10 yards.
That gave Babylon a 34-6 halftime lead over Roosevelt (9-3).
Schweitzer "makes it a lot easier,'' said Santorelli, who gained 136 yards on 12 carries and passed for 81 yards. "Every week he makes plays. He must be fun to watch.''
In the fourth quarter, Schweitzer iced his record-tying performance with a 1-yard TD run off right guard and a 10-yard scoring burst off a huge block from Pinto, the center.
"It's a lot of communication,'' said Dertinger, a guard. Babylon, he said, had to adapt to the new spread offense. Though the team is passing more now than it did in the previous 10 years combined, Punzone said the line did not give up a sack all year.
"We worked hard all season and I guess you've gotta put it all together at some point, and we got it done,'' Dertinger said. "And both are very, very amazing players. I'm very proud of them and I'm very proud to be their captain.''
And though there is a certain anonymity to being on the offensive line, Punzone was having none of that. "All this is great, and the Schweitzers and the Carlocks and the Santorellis are great,'' he said. "But without those five guys up front, none of this could happen.''
So let's try this again: Isaiah Barnes. Zach Sirico. Eric Scweitzer (and his offensive line).