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Former QBs Sam Ilario, Trent Crossan shine in slot at Empire Challenge

Long Island's Sam Ilario (3) runs down the

Long Island's Sam Ilario (3) runs down the left side for a 24-yard gain in the first half of the 19th annual Empire Challenge all-star football game on Wednesday, June 25, 2014. (Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan)

Long Island found some winning numbers when it played the slots.

Three of the team's biggest offensive plays in Wednesday night's Empire Challenge involved quarterbacks-turned-slot receivers Sam Ilario (West Islip) and Trent Crossan (Sachem North).

Ilario had a 28-yard run in the first quarter, a rare positive running play as Long Island netted only four yards on the ground. He also caught a 31-yard pass from Ben Kocis (Huntington) that set up the game's first touchdown in the second quarter. Ilario is headed to the University of Rhode Island and said his quarterback days are over and expects to compete for playing time at running back, slot receiver or defensive back. An outstanding baseball player as well, Ilario said he believes URI coaches will allow him to play both sports.

Crossan had the game's biggest play from scrimmage, a 60-yard pass reception from Kocis that set up a field goal late in the second quarter to give Long Island an 11-0 lead over NYC (en route to a 24-18 win). He wound up with three receptions for 79 yards, the best performance by any receiver.

Crossan acknowledged that he was miscasted as a quarterback in high school and embraced the position switch for the Empire Challenge, which Long Island . "It's a preview to what I'll be doing next year," said Crossan, who will attend Suffield Academy, a prep school in Connecticut and hopes to eventually transfer to Army.

Tags: football , empire challenge , sam ilario , trent crossan , sachem north , ben kocis , huntington

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