And Long Islands high school gridirons were working overtime, churning out future NFL players such as Jumbo Elliot, Jay Fiedler, Quinn Early, Rob Moore and, of course, Vinny Testaverde. Here, then, is Newsdays all-time Long Island football team for the 1980s.
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Massapequa, OL, 1981
He was All-Long Island as a dominant two-way lineman. Baldinger had an outstanding career at Wake Forest and played six seasons for the Bills, Chiefs and Colts.
Central Islip, DL, 1986
Kings Park, RB, 1983
ValleyStreamCentral, LB, 1989
The two-time All-Long Island choice was a devastating tackler who led the Eagles to their only Nassau Conference title. Boyd went to Boston College and played seven seasons with the Detroit Lions. He now coaches at Chaminade High School..
Newfield, DT, 1984
He was a one-man wrecking crew as an All-Long Island linebacker. He went on to Syracuse and played 14 seasons in the NFL for three teams, and was a starting DT on the Baltimore Ravens' Super Bowl championship team in the 2000 season.
Amityville, WR, 1986
All-Long Island selection transferred from Notre Dame to be a standout wide receiver at Syracuse. He played five seasons in the NFL.
Wyandanch, RB, 1982
He rushed for 1,323 yards and an 8.5 average, earned All-Long Island honors and became a three-year starter at Ohio State.
Great NeckSouth, WR, 1984
Played at the University of Iowa before a 12-year NFL career with four different teams. In 1995, he had 81 receptions and eight TDs for the Saints.
Sachem, OT, 1982
Oceanside, QB, 1989
JAMES SCOTTY GRAHAM
Long Beach, RB, 1986
Rushed for 1,534 yards and 17 touchdowns (including seven 200+ games). Played at Ohio State and then six NFL seasons.
East Islip, DE, 1982
Won the Zellner Award as Suffolk's outstanding lineman and led the Redmen to a 10-0 season. Gregory was a consensus All-American at Syracuse.
Hempstead, QB, 1988
Earned the Thorp Award as Nassau's top player and led the Tigers to a 19-1 record and two straight Conference I titles.
Bellport, WR, 1989
A two-time All-LI and All-State selection, He had more than 2,000 receiving yards in his three-year career. In 1989, Jasper was selected to the national high school all-star game. He was all-Big Ten at Iowa.
CentralIslip, DL, 1985
Jones played 10 years in the NFL, including three with the Giants. He was All-LI and All-State at Central Islip.
Comsewogue, RB, 1988
He won the Hansen Award, rushing for 1,443 yards and 21 touchdowns.
West Hempstead, QB, 1982
A stellar passer, he won the Thorp Award and went on to Syracuse, where he was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy.
Hempstead, WR, 1986
Two-time Pro bowler, Moore had 97 receptions and led NFL receivers with 1,584 yards in 1997. In his 10-year career with the Jets and Cardinals, he had 628 catches for 9,368 yards.
Bellport, WR, 1986
A two-time All Long Island selection went on to start at Illinois.
Hempstead, QB, 1986
Stith went 27-0-2 as a starter, leading the Tigers to three straight county titles.
Hempstead, OG/LB, 1988
Accomplished the rare feat of being named State Player of the Year as a lineman. He played college ball at Syracuse.
Sewanhaka, QB, 1980
Started only one season at QB in high school, but was so outstanding, he was named All-Long Island and All-American. Testaverde was a wide receiver as a junior. At Miami, he won the Heisman Trophy in 1986 (the only Long Islander to win the trophy) He had an outstanding 20-year career in the NFL, passing for 46,233 yards and 275 touchdowns while playing for seven teams, including the Jets.
Bellport, DL, 1982
He was twice All-Long Island and won the Hansen Award as a senior while leading the Clippers to a 10-0 season. He played at Syracuse.