The roster lists Matt Ilchuck’s position as quarterback, but don’t hold him to it — especially when he has one more chance to make an impression.
The Bay Shore senior caught, ran and threw his way to MVP honors and a bright spot in the Blue team’s (Suffolk I and IV) 34-21 win over the White team (Suffolk II and III) at the Suffolk Police Athletic League all-star game last night at Sachem North.
“I was trying to take every opportunity I had whenever I got the ball,” said Ilchuck, who had 66 all-purpose yards.
His team practiced four times for the game, and the chance to play together paid off. Ilchuck and Lindenhurst quarterback Austin Perri rehearsed a switch that worked to perfection as Ilchuck handed off to Perri, who threw back to Ilchuck along the left sideline for a 33-yard completion that set up a Blue score. Ilchuck didn’t have a receiving yard during the regular season.
“That was our trick play,” Ilchuck said. “That was cool that I was able to do that.”
As multi-faceted as Ilchuck’s performance was, Ward Melville’s Dominic Pryor made his impact the way he has all season — by catching long passes in important moments. He caught a 31-yarder from Perri with 4:30 left in the second quarter that set up Perri’s 2-yard run that gave Blue a 21-0 lead.
Pryor opened the second half with a 11-yard reception from his Ward Melville quarterback, Wes Manning. Then Ilchuck found Pryor for a 21-yard pass with six minutes remaining for Blue’s final score. He had 62 yards on three catches.
“There are a bunch of great athletes out here, so I expected it to be high intensity and great playmaking, and that’s what it was,” Pryor said.
Manning connected with Lindenhurst’s Steven Ramirez less than four minutes into the game on a 40-yard pass to open the scoring. Then Wyandanch running back Christian Flowers showed the skills that produced 1,235 yards and 13 touchdowns on 95 carries in Suffolk IV. Flowers scored on a 1-yard run with 49.3 seconds left in the first quarter to give Blue a 14-0 lead.
“My line was blocking very well,” Flowers said.
White’s Jimmy Morrell (Bellport) powered the White offense in the first half, collecting 107 rushing yards and scoring two touchdowns. His second TD was a 7-yard run with 1:44 left that came right after a 35-yard breakout carry.
Morrell’s teammate, Vincent Guarino, punched in a touchdown on fourth-and-inches with 9:08 left for White’s other score. Guarino found Shawn McFarland for a 61-yard pass that set up the opportunity.
But the night belonged to the Blue team, and especially Illchuck, who walked away with a trophy and one more memorable moment from high school football.
“I just tried to do the best I could with every opportunity and hope for the best,” Ilchuck said.