Goricki: Matured Elzayat, Fordson making a statement
Dearborn — Hamze Elzayat is growing up as Dearborn Fordson’s senior quarterback, showing his maturity in a variety of ways.
Elzayat, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound senior, showed his leadership by not letting his teammates get down in the season opener, rallying Fordson from a 21-point halftime deficit to defeat Canton, 40-35.
Then, Elzayat carried the momentum into Fordson’s rivalry game with Dearborn Edsel Ford, throwing for 250 yards and running for 125 more in a 48-20 victory.
Elzayat has already thrown for 550 yards and six touchdowns, and rushed for 275 yards and three more scores.
Now, Fordson will play at Belleville (1-1) Friday in a Western Wayne Blue Division showdown, trying to avenge a 20-14 loss from a year ago and Elzayat again plans to lead the way.
“We’ve worked so hard this summer that I really felt we’d have a good season,” said Elzayat, who was timed at 4.48 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the Ohio State camp this June.
“To come back and beat a top-five team like Canton felt really good, and then beating our rival felt good, too. Really, I was expecting this from our team.”
So, how did Fordson come back from that 21-point halftime deficit?
“I just went in (at halftime) and told them to not put their heads down because we had 24 more minutes to play,” said Elzayat, who threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 150 yards and two scores against Canton, with the majority coming during the second half.
“We were in the right spots, just not executing and playing well. We didn’t change anything, just executed better during the second half to get the ball in the end zone.”
Elzayat had a solid junior season to help Fordson earn a state playoff spot last year, finishing 6-5 with a playoff win over Sterling Heights Stevenson before a Division 1 district final loss to Detroit Cass Tech. He threw for 1,900 yards, ran for 500 yards and accounted for 18 touchdowns.
“It was my first year as a starter and I learned I had to stay more poised and composed on the field,” Elzayat said of a year ago. “I used to come off the field and throw some fits on the sidelines, but this year I like to keep my composure and lead my teammates because once they see me go down everyone else will go down with their attitudes.
“So I like to keep it high for my teammates and show them I have their backs.”
Elzayat also felt confident coming into the season with an experienced offensive line in front of him, led by 6-5, 290-pound left guard Zac Darwiche, who has offers from Virginia and Buffalo.
“Zac’s really good and has offers from all over,” Elzayat said. “Our whole offensive line returned, one came from another school, and they’re very strong and that one year of experience helps.
“They move the defensive linemen and we like to pound the ball.”
And while Fordson doesn’t showcase any Division 1 receivers, it does have its share of playmakers, including receivers Slay Shajrah and Khaled Elhaj.
“Our weapons are not D1 athletes you hear about, but they are kids that will run their routes and they’ll run it to perfection fundamentally and once they catch the ball they will make a play,” Elzayat said. “I can trust them and they’ve got my backs for everything.”
When asked to talk about his own strengths, Elzayat said: “Reading my keys and executing the play. I like the short-game passes a lot, reading my keys and hitting drags and outs and all of those short passes, but I like throwing a deep post, too.
“Whatever the play call is I run it, but if I’m dropping back and I don’t see anyone I know that I can use my legs and that’s my strength. So I just tuck it and run and get the most yards that I can.”
Darwiche loves blocking for Elzayat, then watching him go.
“He’s been a leader for us, helping us out big time,” Darwiche said.
“He just needs us to do our job, just needs a block. We’re lucky to have him. He’s versatile. I like how when we’re pass blocking, if he doesn’t see anyone he can pass to he’ll run up field and get some big yards for us. It’s awesome.”
Elzayat had a busy summer with 7-on-7 camps, along with going to camps at Ohio State, Cincinnati, Miami (Ohio), Michigan State, Bucknell and Buffalo. He has offers from Navy, Army, Bryant and Kentucky Christian.
But, the only thing on Elzayat’s mind is the upcoming game at Belleville.
“I’m excited for this game,” said Elzayat. “It’s another statement game for our team.”