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Jenkins' Empire Challenge state of mind is one of fun

Running back Curtis Jenkins of Farmingdale looks on

Running back Curtis Jenkins of Farmingdale looks on from the field during the Long Island team practice for the 19th annual Empire Challenge high school football all-star game on Monday, June 23, 2014. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Curtis Jenkins removed his helmet and uttered some words to himself.

"I ain't thirsty," said Jenkins, smiling. "I lied. I am thirsty."

Jenkins, Farmingdale's star running back, was only playing around during a break in the action Monday afternoon at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium.

That's part of what makes being a member of the Empire Challenge All-Star football game so much fun. When coaches told everyone from the Long Island team to get some water at the midway point of practice, Jenkins just smiled.

"Right now, we're all just having fun, doing it together," said Jenkins, who led the Dalers to the Nassau title last fall. "I'm enjoying the experience."

At 6-2, 185 pounds, Jenkins "likes to dance," he said, and "put on a lot of moves" when carrying the football out of the backfield. He can't wait for game day.

The fun kicks off when Long Island meets NYC at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium.

"We just got to go out and play," Jenkins said. "Do what we do."

When he isn't working on his tactical moves, Jenkins said he teases his former Farmingdale teammate and current Long Island teammate, 6-foot, 295-pound offensive tackle Kevin Vandermark (SUNY Cortland).

"'Keep a move on it,'" said Jenkins, laughing, when chit-chatting with Vandermark in practice. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. It's serious, but not too serious, or overbearing."

Jenkins is set to attend Nassau CC in the fall.

Right now, he's focusing on helping Long Island win a fourth straight Empire Challenge.

"I sense that vibe from these All-Stars around me that we really want to win," Jenkins said. "Keep practicing and we'll get 'em."

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