The top high school quarterbacks and receivers competed in Kings Park as part of the National Football Foundation Quarterback Challenge. NewsdayTV's Carissa Kellman reports.  Credit: Morgan Campbell

Mustafa Mozawalla of Syosset has been playing football for only a little more than two years. He’s participated in only six varsity games.

Yet you couldn’t tell he lacked experience Sunday at Kings Park High School. On a warm summer morning in late July, the 17-year-old looked like a seasoned veteran as he went through the different tests in the second annual National Football Foundation Boys QB Challenge presented by Orlin & Cohen. Mozawalla put on quite the performance before a modest crowd to outscore the competition and win overall honors.

“He was smooth in every drill and filled with confidence,” said Len Genova, the president of the James C. Metzger Suffolk County Chapter of the National Football Foundation, which hosted the Long Island event. “Mozawalla is one of those athletes that comes out of nowhere and makes a name for himself. He was so impressive.”

Mozawalla went through the progressions in the tests of accuracy, anticipation, touch, arm strength, mobility and football IQ (the participants took a written test on their knowledge of the game).

“The opportunity presented itself and I came out here and had a really good day,” he said. “My dad was a baseball player and he thought I had a really good arm and had me start throwing a football, and I loved it. The QB Challenge is a great opportunity for a guy like me with little experience to come out and soak up all the knowledge offered by the coaches, especially Coach [John] Gill, in the Zoom meetings and the preparation that we do to get ready to come out here and compete in this event.”

Smithtown West quarterback Brayden Stahl earned the top score in accuracy and finished second in the event, which hosted 16 total participants selected from across Long Island. Commack’s Jeremy Weiss, the inaugural champion in 2022,  placed third. Joe Filardi of Half Hollow Hills West was the high scorer in anticipation. Will Gambino of Westhampton Beach compiled the highest test score for football IQ.

“We had an unbelievable group this year,” said Gill, who coached college football for more than 20 years and serves as the Long Island QB Challenge director. “They learned, worked at each challenge set in front of them and came out and put on a show with arm strength, accuracy and excellent footwork.”

There also was a chance to see 31 of Long Island’s top wide receivers perform on the stadium turf at Kings Park. Dean Vitale of Massapequa earned the most outstanding receiver award.

Mozawalla, a 6-foot, 160-pound senior, said he’s excited to see how far he can lead Syosset in the Nassau Conference I playoffs. In his short time as a starter, he completed 113 of 145 passes for 1,157 yards and nine touchdowns. His sure- handed receivers Sunday were Adam Marvin and Jack Monaco.

“We’re always the underdog and we’re really going to surprise teams this year,” Mozawalla said. “We have a lot of balance. I used to play soccer and moved over to football. It just felt right for me when I started throwing the football.”

Well, it always felt right for Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK sophomore quarterback Jennifer Canarutto. She led the Hawks to the Long Island flag football championship and the Northeast Regional title at the Jets’ training facility in Florham Park, New Jersey, in the spring.

The dual threat, on the run and through the air, put on a show in the inaugural girls QB Challenge. Her performance punctuated a spring season in which she totaled 3,068 all-purpose yards and 43 touchdowns to propel Plainview to an undefeated championship season.

Canarutto outpointed runner-up Alexandra DaEira-Loccisano of Eastport-South Manor and third-place finisher Delaney Israel of Longwood for the overall crown. “It was an amazing experience,” Canarutto said. “I put in the practice all season with the receivers and it showed.”

Canarutto and wide receivers Rachel Ganz and Gabi Weinstein were outstanding and in sync with excellent timing on routes.

DaEira-Loccisano claimed the top score in the anticipation challenge, in which participants throw the ball when the receiver’s back is turned. The footwork, timing and precision are critical to a high score. Israel earned the highest score in accuracy. Participants run a wave drill in which they are tested in speed, quickness of release and accuracy of throws.

The top wide receiver for the girls challenge was Katelyn Musyka of Northport.

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