Who better to deliver this message to Mike Catanese than Anthony Catapano?
"Don't worry about replacing Ray," Catapano has told his new quarterback. "Just be yourself and you'll be awesome."
Wise words from a decent source. Catapano, an offensive lineman, is the younger brother of Ray Catapano, the former Carey quarterback who posted eye-popping numbers and nabbed a Thorp Award while leading the Seahawks to a Long Island title last season. Yeah. Catanese is replacing that guy.
"I don't feel too much pressure," Catanese said. "Teammates and coaches have told me to just do my own thing."
In being himself Saturday, the junior looked an awful lot like that guy.
Catanese was flawless, completing all nine of his passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns as Carey beat host Wantagh, 40-7, in Nassau II football. The Seahawks graduated several skill-position players but thus far have appeared no less skilled than before.
Nick Spillane rushed for 43 yards and score, and had a touchdown reception. Conor Colasurdo, who ran for a TD, also had a sack and a fumble recovery for Carey (2-0). Thomas Gallant had two sacks. "New quarterback and all," Catapano said, "we've picked up right where we left off."
And for Catanese, it has been less about whom he follows than those he stands behind. Left tackle Jorge Cerquera. Left guard Joe Randazzo. Center Rob Kelly. Right guard Gabe Alejo. Right tackle Anthony Catapano.
Carey returned four of its five starters on the offensive line -- Randazzo being the newcomer -- and this unit, with its talent and established cohesiveness, has been dominant.
"When you're able to sit back there and read the defense, it's great," Catanese said. "When you've got that and great receivers getting open, it's easy."
Even more so when the defense immediately offers good field position. Defensive lineman Casey Kloepfer intercepted a Wantagh screen pass on the first play from scrimmage, setting his offense up at the 25. Spillane cashed in four plays later, juking and spinning his way to a 15-yard TD. Colasurdo's 3-yard TD run put Carey up 14-0 with 1:12 left in the first quarter.
That score was set up by Catanese's 34-yard completion to Jake Safuto on a skinny post. Showing savvy that belies his experience, the quarterback successfully looked off the safeties to free Safuto downfield. "I picked up some of the [nuances] watching Ray," Catanese said.
He later hit Spillane for a 26-yard TD on a seam route that made it 27-0 before halftime, and his 4-yard flare to Anthony Milan pushed the lead to 40-0 with 7:57 in the third, before Carey began substituting.
Mike DeLeo had a rushing TD, as did Brett Campos, whose 1-yard plunge was preceded by his 47-yard catch. Wantagh (1-1) was held scoreless until late in the third, when Vinny Vasheo broke runs of 35 and 22 yards, setting up Bruno Surace's 1-yard TD run.
"We're not shocked," Colasurdo said of Catanese. "He showed this over the summer and it's carried over. We expected him to be great."
Never mind "that guy." He's beginning to look like the guy.