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Bedell's 3 TDs lead Long Island to Empire Challenge win

Long Island running back Stacey Bedell runs the

Long Island running back Stacey Bedell runs the ball against New York City in the first half of the United Healthcare Empire Challenge football game at Shuart Stadium. (June 19, 2012) Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The names and sights that have become all too familiar on football fields across Long Island were seen one last time Tuesday night.

There was Floyd's Stacey Bedell finding a hole and racing up the field with defenders chasing in vain.

There was Sayville's Steven Ferreira placing a perfect pass in the end zone, where only his receiver could get it.

There was Syosset's Evan Kappatos breaking through the offensive line and sacking the quarterback.

There was Huntington's Trayvon Toney and Newfield's Tom Diubaldo clogging the middle for a stop on fourth-and-goal.

Bedell ran for 137 yards and three touchdowns and the defense was stifling as the Long Island All-Stars beat the New York City All-Stars, 31-7, last night in the 17th annual Empire Challenge before a record crowd of 12,418 at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium.

The game not only showcased the best local talent for one final time on Long Island but also benefited the Boomer Esiason Foundation, which supports cystic fibrosis research, the Gunnar H. Esiason Scholarship Fund at Hofstra and local youth football programs.

"It's a serious game and we want to get the win but I was out there having fun," said Bedell, the game's MVP. "It's great competition. Everyone was making great plays."

Plays seen many times before. With Long Island already leading 18-0, the UMass-bound Bedell cut up the middle and raced 92 yards for his third touchdown of the game.

Isaiah Barnes helped get LI on the board after executing an 11-play, 66-yard drive that was capped with a 1-yard touchdown run by Bedell in the first quarter to make it 6-0. After Bedell ran 12 yards to the 1-yard line, he jumped the pile for his second TD and a 12-0 lead.

After a turnover on downs by NYC, Ferreira connected with his Sayville teammate Thomas Hannan, who made a diving catch for a 33-yard gain to bring LI to the 23-yard line. On fourth-and-8, Ferreira threw a fade pass to Mike Richardson, who held on in the back corner of the end zone for an 18-0 lead with 11 seconds left in the half.

"I told Richardson that he was probably going to have one-on-one backside," said Ferreira, who was 8-for-11 for 132 yards and two TDs. "I told him to look for the ball, it's going to be there. He made a sick play and got the touchdown."

Ferreira, LI's all-time career leader in yards and TDs, threw his final high school TD to Locust Valley's Alex Rawa, who caught a 5-yard pass to make it 31-0 with 8:06 left in the game.

That was more than enough for the LI defense. Looking for the first shutout in rivalry history, LI held NYC scoreless for 56:56, when Alvin Cornelius caught an 18-yard touchdown pass to make it 31-7. "We played for Long Island," Kappatos said. "We have pride and we wanted to show what Long Island football is all about."

There was Long Island's best, doing just that.

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