Former Garden City football coach Tom Flatley had a vivid memory of Ed Blatz’s final game in that sport, the 2012 Long Island Class II championship game.
“We were getting the stuff kicked out of us by Riverhead and we threw a deep pass,” Flatley recalled. “Eddie was taller [at 6-5] than all the defensive backs and had a great pair of hands. He went up and came down with it.”
Blatz’s leaping, one-handed catch on a pass from Brett Stewart went for 26 yards to the Riverhead 5 and set up Stewart’s 3-yard touchdown run two plays later that put Garden City ahead for good in the third quarter. Blatz, a wide receiver, caught a touchdown pass earlier and had seven receptions for 140 yards in the Trojans’ 29-16 comeback win.
“Eddie was an easygoing guy who never seemed too excited about big games. He was very laid-back in practice but had a great ability to turn it on in games,” Flatley said. “When the whistle blew, he was one of the better athletes in football and lacrosse we’ve had.”
Blatz, a junior defenseman on the Georgetown lacrosse team, died Sunday morning at his off-campus residence, according to a university spokesman. No cause of death or funeral arrangements have been announced.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Blatz family and our players and Eddie’s friends as we begin to go through the grieving process,” Georgetown coach Kevin Warne said in a statement issued Monday by the university. “Eddie was a great young man who was well-respected and well-liked by his teammates and the Georgetown lacrosse family. He was a very bright student and a talented player and words cannot express the loss we are feeling right now.”
Injuries plagued Blatz this season, but he started four of the six games he played on defense, including Saturday night’s 8-7 loss to Virginia in Washington. He started 19 of his 25 games for the Hoyas and was a management major enrolled in the McDonough School of Business.
At Garden City, Blatz played four seasons of varsity basketball and three seasons each of football and lacrosse, winning one Long Island championship in football and two state Class B titles in lacrosse. He was a first-team Newsday All-Long Island defenseman in his senior year.
“Eddie and I had a really close relationship and we stayed in touch since he graduated. He’s like a son. I loved Eddie,” said Garden City lacrosse and assistant football coach Steve Finnell, choking up as he recalled a player he coached for six seasons in two sports. “His last championships in football and lacrosse were a testament to Eddie and the seniors around him that were leaders of teams that weren’t supposed to win [because so many stars had graduated the previous year]. But they refused to lose.”
Finnell said Blatz’s popularity reached beyond the high school and college playing fields. “There are certain kids that people are drawn to. That’s Eddie,” he said. “The kids in town loved him. He worked with a lot of them, lacrosse-wise, over the years. There was just something about a 6-5 guy that was funny and welcoming. He didn’t intimidate them at all. He was great with kids.”