Long Island plans to put an end to their two-year losing streak Friday night when they face New York City in the Empire Challenge at Hofstra.
Like all good plans, L.I. has to have a secret on the offense and defense. What’s rolling the offense down the field? The quarterback wheel.
The spokes on the tire are formed by Oceanside’s Tommy Heuer, Northport’s Ryan Walsh and Lindenhurst’s Nick Anzalone and between the three of them, the NYC defense could have their heads spinning.
“They all do something a little different,” Rob Blount, Oceanside’s coach and Long Island’s offensive coach, said. “With three good quarterbacks we can keep the drives going long . . . applying pressure to the defense.”
Walsh has the size. He’s the biggest of the three with a strong arm and large frame. He completed 78 of 121 passes, throwing for 1,145 yards and 15 touchdowns. He rushed for 184 yards and two touchdowns.
Anzalone has the moves, meaning he’ll run circles around the defense until he finds an open man. He was ranked third in Newsday’s passing leaders in Suffolk, completing 165 of 195 passes for 2,074 yards and 24 touchdowns.
“Anzalone is such a competitor,” Blount said. “He throws well on the run and when those lights come on he’s ready.”
Heuer has the knowledge. Heuer and Blount have been on the same page offensively and it’ll be no different on Shuart Stadium.
“Tommy’s a big help,” Anzalone said. “It’s like having a second coach on the field.”
Blount added, “Having him is really good for the offense because he knows the system. He can take charge of the offense helping receivers, the running backs and the offense line.”
Heuer leads Nassau in passing, completing 257 of 319 throws for 3,122 yards and 38 touchdowns. He runs too, totaling 279 yards and five touchdowns.
The wheel isn’t complete with out the tire. Rounding out the offense are Oceanside’s Michael Scibelli, Ward Melville’s Thomas Kutchma and Massapequa’s Connor Payne on the offensive line.
Westhampton’s Dylan Laube and North Babylon’s David Estrella will be the running backs.
Harborfields’ Gavin Buda, Oceanside’s Derek Cruz, Massapequa’s Owen Glascoe and Farmingdale’s Antonio Smikle Jr. are all large wide receivers.
“The offense is high tempo. It’s all about getting possession after possession until the big home run at the end,” Smikle said. “Everyone is a key player because they are the best on Long Island. We are going to do our thing as a team. I think we’ll break the streak.”
The defense’s secret weapon is Hempstead’s Dashawn Meadors. Usually a running back, he was switched to defense.
“The switch was probably the best thing we’ve done,” Kyle Madden, Half Hollow Hills West coach and Long Island’s defensive coach, said. “Our two defensive ends, Meadors and Suquan Stays [Lawrence], are very athletic.”
Amityville’s Deonte Wilson and Hills West’ James Regateiro lead the defensive tackles.
“No blitzing is allowed so we really have to rely on the defensive’s athletic abilities to make plays,” Madden said. “It’s all about running to the football, breaking down and being in a great position to make the tackle. It’s going to be a battle.”