Three interceptions in one game! By a football player making his varsity debut, no less.
Jake Skrezec himself acknowledged, “It’s crazy.”
Crazy, perhaps. Virtually unheard of, definitely.
Making an interception is hard enough, nevermind three of them, but that is just what Skrezec did for Greenport/Southold/Mattituck in its 16-12 season-opening win over Wyandanch on Friday night.
Wyandanch quarterback Stanley Joiner may have nightmares about Skrezec, who, to the delight of fans at Greenport High School’s Dorrie Jackson Memorial Field, picked off one pass in the second quarter and two more in the third. Something like that doesn’t happen every day.
“It certainly hasn’t happened when I’ve been coaching, I can tell you that,” said the Porters’ coach, Jack Martilotta.
Skrezec, a junior who plays safety and slot receiver in addition to returning kickoffs and punts, said Martilotta had told him the day before that he was going to have a good game.
If Skrezec was a little unsure of himself, it would have been understandable. Not only was this his first varsity football game, it was his first football game, period, in two years. He had played for the Porters’ junior varsity team two years ago before switching to play soccer last year.
“I didn’t enjoy football as much so I wanted to see if I liked soccer more,” Skrezec explained. “Then I ended up realizing I don’t like soccer at all. I like football a lot now.”
What’s not to like after a three-interception game?
So, were there some nerves before the game? You bet.
“I was so scared,” he said.
Those nerves evaporated, Skrezec said, after he was hit for the first time. Then Skrezec, a fast player with a nose for the ball, went to business.
Interception No. 1: Skrezec was playing back deep by himself when Wyandanch faced fourth-and-17, an obvious punt situation. The Warriors didn’t punt, though. Joiner floated a pass downfield that Skrezec gratefully slid under 61 seconds before halftime. “I just read the quarterback’s eyes and got right to the spot and just caught it,” he said.
Interception No. 2: Skrezec put an end to Wyandanch’s second possession of the third quarter, reading Joiner’s eyes and cutting in front of a receiver on a slant to snatch the pass and take the ball 27 yards in the other direction. “I just couldn’t believe I got another interception,” he said.
Interception No. 3: Wyandanch’s next possession was also cut short by Skrezec on a similar play, returning that one 51 yards. On the next play, Tristin Ireland bounced off a tackler and plunged forward for a 12-yard touchdown run. “I couldn’t believe it,” Skrezec said. “I thought I was dreaming. I said, ‘I can’t believe this is happening right now.’ ”
Skrezec also made a tackle to bring down Wyandanch’s Matthew Rosa after Rosa intercepted a pass in the first quarter.
“Three in a game,” Martilotta said. “That young man had quite a few yards on interceptions today.”
Asked if anything surprised him about the game, Porters wide receiver/outside linebacker Zach Holmes answered: “Jake Skrezec. Great interceptions. We knew he was fast and we know he can read the ball.”
Skrezec said he made two interceptions as a freshman on the junior varsity team, including one in the season-opening game against, you guessed it, Wyandanch.
Skrezec said he never imagined he would have three interceptions in Friday’s game but, in retrospect, he believes he probably should have had five. Regardless, it was quite a night for him.
He said, “Oh, I’m never going to forget this.”
Photo caption: Jake Skrezec, who made three interceptions in his varsity debut for Greenport/Southold/Mattituck, returning a kickoff against Wyandanch. (Credit: Garret Meade)