Charlie McKee is making quite the name for himself. He has made the jump from middle school star to varsity starter as a 14-year old freshman look seamless.
McKee completed 13 of 22 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another score as Oceanside beat Baldwin, 35-0, Saturday in a Nassau Conference I football game.
McKee has 12 touchdown passes and has Oceanside off to a 4-1 start. His 52-yard scoring strike found Nick Platia in stride over the top of the defense to open the third quarter and extend a two-score lead to 21-0. It was a thing of beauty — if you’re an Oceanside fan.
“We saw him in a middle school football clinic and we knew he was something special,” Oceanside coach Rob Blount said. “He started as a wide receiver in the seventh grade and moved to quarterback in eighth. He’s only a second-year QB. We give him just enough to learn and pull back some stuff because he’s so young. He only turned 14 in April. But he is so good.”
McKee has embraced the Oceanside offense. He directed a 14-play, 70-yard touchdown drive to open the game. The march lasted 7:01 capped by a Thomas Flavin 5-yard scoring run. Peter Folias added the kick to make it 7-0 with 4:59 left in the first quarter.
“We threw the ball a lot in middle school,” the 6-0, 165-pound McKee said. “And I know I’m only as good as my offensive line and they were great today.”
Oceanside threatened to score again late in the second quarter, but the Baldwin defense stiffened. The Sailors embarked on a 17-play drive, that was riddled by four penalties, and consumed 7:11. The march ended on a fourth-and-15 play as McKee was swarmed at the Baldwin 22 by Liam Melvin and Kamari Quick.
The sack gave the Bruins (3-2) momentum but that quickly dissipated when Oceanside forced a fumble on the ensuing handoff. Defensive lineman Connor Calkin came up with the loose ball at the Baldwin 27 with 2:31 left in the half. The turnover proved costly.
Oceanside moved 27 yards in five plays before McKee went up the middle on a quarterback draw for a 5-yard scoring run and a 14-0 halftime lead.
“Charlie’s been great, and we knew this was coming,” Flavin said. “He likes to throw deep, but he has touch. And he’s got a good personality which helps in the huddle.”
Oceanside put it away with two touchdowns in a 20-second span of the third quarter. McKee hit Platia for the long score to cap a five-play, 70-yard drive and a 21-0 lead. And then the Sailors’ Daniel Cascio recovered the ensuing onside kick at the Bruins’ 45 to set up the next score.
“We hit them with a few quick scores in the third quarter,” said Platia, who had three catches for 100 yards.
After a motion penalty moved the ball back to midfield, senior wide receiver Jake Lazzaro took a handoff from McKee and threw an option pass to Flavin for a 50-yard scoring strike and a 28-0 lead. Flavin finished with four receptions for 72 yards.
McKee added a 6-yard scoring pass on a well-timed fade to Platia on the first play of the fourth quarter for the final margin. He was removed with 11:53 left.
As McKee walked to the bus, his offensive line of tackles Edward Mannone and Jay Jackson, guards Giff Stiansen and Matt Brooks and center KC Carlson applauded his exit.
His entrance to varsity football is something to laud. His exit Saturday was something to applaud.