Long Island Title Wraps Up Stellar Career For Westhampton Beach’s Dylan Laube

0
602
Used: 0

By Cailin Riley

There were signs that Dylan Laube was going to be a special football player when he was just 5 years old.

His father, Kyle Laube, decided to put him on the PAL football team he was coaching for 6-to-8-year-olds, which already included Mr. Laube’s older son, Devin. Dylan was the youngest kid on the team, and the smallest, too—but he was also the fastest.

Devin Laube remembers one game in particular, the biggest game of the season. Dylan came into a huddle late in the game with tears in his eyes, shaken up after taking a few hits. His father told him he’d be getting the ball, and instructed him to run up the left side.

Dylan wanted to know if his big brother, Devin, the fullback, would be blocking for him.

“The play was a reverse, so I was going to be running the opposite way, but my dad kind of looked at me and told me to go along with it,” Devin Laubenow a lineman at Endicott College—recalled.

A few moments later, Dylan was sprinting up the left sideline alone, untouched until he reached the end zone for the game-winning touchdown.

“He was crying because he got tackled in the end zone by the biggest kid on the team! But we were all, like, ‘We won!’ and he doesn’t even realize,” Devin said with a laugh.

It was a scene that would play out again and again—minus the tears—during Dylan Laube’s football career, which started in the youth leagues and carried him most recently to Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium at Stony Brook University. There, on Sunday, he scored six touchdowns to lead the undefeated Westhampton Beach Hurricanes to their first-ever Long Island Championship, in a 54-26 rout of Lawrence in the Class III game.

Laube, a senior, tied the record for touchdowns in a Long Island Championship game, and also broke the Long Island single-season touchdown record with 47, surpassing previous record-holder Jason Gwaltney of North Babylon, who had two 45-touchdown seasons in the early 2000s.

Both Devin Laube and his mother, Noel Laube, expressed similar sentiments when talking about the historic season, and Sunday’s lopsided win. They began with a disclaimer—they didn’t want to sound cocky—before saying they felt the win was a foregone conclusion.

A closer look into Dylan Laube’s life, and the way he conducts himself both on and off the field, makes it easy to understand why they felt that way.

By all indications, he has all the ingredients that make a oncein-a-lifetime athlete—natural talent, relentless work ethic, strength of character, and the respect and admiration of his coaches, peers and community.

‘Off The Charts’

In many ways, Dylan Laube fits the mold of a stud athlete. The countless hours he spends in the gym, on the field, and in the weight room are obvious in the broadness of his shoulders, the thickness of his neck.

He’s that kid who excels at any sport he tries—he’ll be playing football at the University of New Hampshire next season, but a lacrosse scholarship would have been just as easy to come by, and he was a capable basketball player before whittling his focus to two sports. He even dabbled in wrestling as a middle schooler.

But in many ways, Dylan breaks the ultra-jock mold. There is no veneer of puffed-up toughness, no performative hyper-masculinity, no self-congratulatory speak. He smiles broadly, easily and often. When asked to pose for a photo with his coach, Bill Parry—who is contrastingly stoic—Dylan flashes an ear-toear grin, draping his arm around Mr. Parry’s shoulder before adding an unsolicited thumbs-up.

On the field, there is no mistaking what Laube is: a freak of talent and skill. When asked what makes him so great, in technical terms, head coach Bill Parry quickly said, “Everything,” before elaborating.

“He’s incredibly fast—but, more than that, he’s quick,” the coach said. “His agility is off the charts. That’s something you can’t teach. And he has incredible vision—he sees the openings before they’re there. He’s a natural athlete.”

‘Mediocre Is Not Acceptable’

Last season, Dylan Laube became just the fourth Hurricane player to earn a captain’s armband as a junior in the 21 years that Mr. Parry has been at the helm of the program. The coach said Dylan earned that distinction not because he was particularly vocal but because he led by example, consistently proving himself to be the hardest worker on the field in practice.

Mr. Parry said Dylan became more vocal this year as a senior, as he led the team along with fellow captains Craig Conner and Kurt Mion, both seniors, and junior Liam McIntyre, but continued to show that same leadership style, which Mr. Parry said makes his job as a coach easier.

“He brings up the level of the other kids,” he said. “When someone else is dragging, [the players] take care of it. They’ve raised their level, and now everyone knows that mediocre is not acceptable.”

It’s a mantra Dylan Laube has embraced for several years now, as he set his sights on playing in college, and perhaps beyond.

Offseason mornings are spent doing 5 a.m. workouts, and he’s usually back at it in the afternoons for extra training and conditioning. The weight room is a home away from home as well. Teammate Liam McIntyre calls Dylan’s work ethic “insane,” and Dylan’s mother and older brother say they sometimes have to remind him that it’s okay to take a day off. They agree that he seems to have an innate drive to be the best and constantly improve—fueled, in large part, by dreams of NFL stardom—but admitted that proving doubters wrong likely adds to his motivation.

“Some people think he’s too small, so that’s been a challenge he’s faced,” Ms. Laube said; the Westhampton Beach roster lists him as 5 feet 11 inches tall and 185 pounds. “After he hits somebody [on the field], I think they have a different outlook on that. But I tell him, ‘Just prove them wrong—that’s all you have to do.’”

A Champion’s Mindset

Westhampton Beach’s 12-0 record this season indicates perfection, as does the fact that the Hurricanes beat their opponents this season by an average of more than 22 points. But the team faced adversity, Mr. Parry and Dylan both said, especially early on.

Liam McIntyre, a starter as a linebacker and fullback, broke his hand on the first play of the first game of the season, and was facing the possibility of being out for the year; ultimately he missed the first four games. Several other key starters went down with injuries early on, requiring backup players, including several sophomores, to step up.

Westhampton Beach’s schedule was stacked with some of the top teams in the division in the first four weeks of the season. Along with other issues, which Mr. Parry did not elaborate on, the team chemistry was suffering, and it came to a head in week five, when the Canes took on a mediocre Rocky Point team and limped to a 35-20 win, a game not nearly as lopsided as the score suggested. Mr. Parry called it the worst game the team had played in two years.

Dylan said it was an important turning point.

“It kind of clicked after that game—like, wow, if we play down to these teams, we’re going to lose in the playoffs or the championship,” he said. “So we just said, from then on, if we want to be a championship team, we have to play at a championship level.”

Dylan and his teammates knew what defeat and playoff disappointment felt like. For years, they were second fiddle to a dominant Sayville squad, losing in the Suffolk County title game. Two weeks after the Rocky Point game, the Canes defeated their nemesis for the first time since 1956, and, two weeks after that, had a shot at Rocky Point again, this time crushing the Eagles, 56-21, in the first round of the playoffs.

A 61-21 win over West Babylon followed, before a 28-14 win over Half Hollow Hills West in the Suffolk County Championship; according to Mr. Parry, it was the first-ever county title for the Hurricanes. The win over Lawrence to cap off the season with the Long Island Championship came the following week.

Irreplaceable

Dylan Laube now owns virtually every rushing and scoring record in Westhampton Beach history, and several Suffolk County and Long Island records as well. He leaves Westhampton Beach with the single-game rushing record (454 yards in a win over Eastport South Manor), and also holds the mark for single-season rushing yards, with 2,684 this year.

He finished his career with 120 touchdowns, and 6,495 rushing yards on 655 carries—basically averaging a first down per carry—in four years as a varsity player. That’s an incredible statistic, but Dylan will never pat himself on the back. In every postgame interview this season, the first words out of his mouth were praise for the offensive line, which he said dominated opponents and created the space for him to run.

His coach, Mr. Parry, is far from effusive, but does not hold back praise when speaking about Dylan, and his place in Hurricane football history.

“We will never replace him,” he said. “He’s the best kid I’ve ever coached, and I think he’s the best football player to walk out of Westhampton.”

Westhampton Beach Athletic Director Kathy Masterson said the future is whatever Dylan wants it to be. “He’s a once-in-alifetime kid,” she said. “Not only is he an incredible athlete, he’s a better human being. He has worked his rear end off for everything he has, and he’s one of the most humble young men I’ve ever met.

“He deserves the world,” she continued. “Here’s a kid who you would not say right away, ‘Oh, he’s going to be in the NFL.’ But don’t you ever count against him—because if that’s his mindset, he will get there. Just watch him go.”

Embargoes and use of this content
I want to use this article
Please select the this checkbox if you want to copy this article

To use this content simply copy and paste or download the image by
right click > save image