Before digging into the turkey Thursday, many of Nassau's top senior football players took the field for a 10 a.m. all-star game that matched Conferences I and IV against Conferences II and III at Mitchel Athletic Complex.
Led by the three touchdowns and 82 rushing yards of offensive MVP William Stanback of Uniondale and the seven tackles of defensive MVP Emmanuel Adeyeye of Malverne, the I and IV all-stars won, 26-13. Tom Kelleher of MacArthur and Chris Infantino of Valley Stream South were the MVPs for the II and III all-stars, respectively.
Lynbrook's Steve LoCicero, coach of the Conference II and III all-stars, was pleased he was able to coach his son, Nick, in his final high school game.
"It was really special for me and my family," Steve LoCicero said. "[Nick] played well and all the kids played well. For any kid, I think being able to come out and play football on Thanksgiving is a special treat -- there's so much tradition."
The I and IV all-stars took a quick 14-0 lead behind a 1-yard touchdown run by Stanback and a 2-yard keeper by Manhasset quarterback Kevin Overlander.
To help balance the rosters, Overlander, Bryan Goetz of North Shore and Anthony Denunzio of MacArthur were asked to play for Conference I and IV. They took delight in playing against their regular-season teammates before joining them for Thanksgiving festivities.
"We go against each other in practice and he's not allowed to hit me, so it's fun," Overlander said about lining up across from Manhasset lineman Chris Howell. "I thought my high school career was over, and then I was able to come back and play this, and it's just an honor to be able to play in this game."
Denunzio, one of Nassau's top defensive linemen, got to square off against teammates Kelleher and Gerard Cunningham, two of the game's most explosive players. Trash-talking went back and forth all week.
"I told him straight up that I was going to chase him down and I was going to get him" was what Denunzio said he told Kelleher before the game. Linebacker Joe Tangredi was the fourth MacArthur player in the game.
After Kelleher gained 59 yards on 12 carries and was named his team's offensive MVP, Denunzio admitted, "I fell a little short getting there, but at least we won."
Win or lose, it was one final chance for the best of Nassau football to get back on the field and burn some calories before consuming plenty of them later in the day.
"It's awesome," Cunningham said. "There's nothing better than playing football on Thanksgiving morning."