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Brett Stewart tosses three TDs as Garden City tops Carey, 28-20

Garden City High School quarterback Brett Stewart throws

Garden City High School quarterback Brett Stewart throws a pass during the second quarter of a Nassau County Conference III varsity football game against Carey. (Oct. 6, 2012) Credit: James Escher

The Garden City offense of recent seasons featured the run and pass attempts were limited. With different personnel this year, the Trojans offense has shifted to the spread.

There are a myriad of reasons for the change, but one of the key components is junior quarterback Brett Stewart. Through five games, Stewart is showing why the move is a wise one.

Stewart went 14-for-22 for 207 yards and three touchdowns for host Garden City in a 28-20 win over Carey Saturday in Nassau II football.

"We're a pass-first team this year," Stewart said. "It's electric. It's fun to watch. The receivers are catching everything. They're getting open. The line is doing a great job."

Stewart has passed for 10 TDs in five games. Garden City (5-0) doesn't have as much size on the lines as last season and they have a lot of talent at the skill positions.

"Last year, we didn't throw much," 6-5 wide receiver Ed Blatz said. "Since our line changed and we're kind of small up front, we like to throw. We have a great quarterback and great receivers. Stewart has done amazing. He's stepped in and surpassed all expectations we had for him."

Carey (3-2) was within one possession and had the ball at its own 29 and Danny Miller recovered a fumble at Carey's 25 for Garden City with 9:14 left in the game. Stewart picked up 16 yards on two carries and after an offsides penalty, Stewart connected with Blatz for a 4-yard TD with 8:02 left. Justin Guterding hit Scott D'Antonio for the two-point conversion extending the Trojans' lead to 28-13.

"That was huge," Stewart said. "That drove our team. That was the turning point in the game."

It was needed because Carey didn't go quietly. The Seahawks answered with an 18-play drive culminating on an 18-yard TD pass from Raymond Catapano to Matt Robison with 3:26 left to bring Carey within 28-20. Joseph Lucito came up with a tackle for a loss on third down forcing Garden City to punt. Carey took over at its own 17 with 2:03 left and reached its own 40 before Brian Badgett intercepted a pass in Trojans territory with 30 seconds left in the game to seal it.

Blatz had seven receptions for 122 yards with a TD and Badgett had four catches for 49 yards, including an 11-yard TD reception with 6:34 left in the first half to give the Trojans a 17-7 lead.

Michael DeLeo, who rushed for 154 yards on 23 carries and two TDs, scored on a 1-yard run on fourth down with five seconds left in the first half as Carey sliced the deficit to 17-13.

The Trojans certainly feel comfortable with the ball in Stewart's hands. He rushed 15 times against Carey and has attempted 50 passes in the last two games.

"He makes a mistake and he shakes it off," Garden City coach Tom Flatley said. "He doesn't get down on himself. He has speed and has a good arm. He has good command of a new offense."

Garden City will play at Long Beach (5-0) at Long Beach 7:30 p.m. Friday.

"Long Beach is the best team in the conference right now," Stewart said. "They're huge and physical."

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