It didn’t take long for Long Beach football coach Scott Martin to realize he had something special.
Holding practice before a postseason matchup following Superstorm Sandy in 2012, Long Beach was short on equipment. Therefore, a 7-on-7 drill turned into shirts against skins. Tyreek Bromley, an eighth grader who played on JV all season, made everyone pause.
“Bromley takes off his shirt and we all stopped and he was bigger than everyone on our team muscular wise,” Martin said, “And I remember looking at our coach and saying ‘This kid can’t play for us now?’
“I even tried to get him into the game plan for that week, but the coaches were like ‘He’s just not ready. Maturity wise and knowing what we’re doing, he’s not ready.’ But we knew right there and then he was going to be a great player.”
The next season, Bromley quickly proved he was ready. Bromley started his freshman season at linebacker, as he would the entirety of his high school tenure totaling 145 tackles. He had 93 tackles as a senior, including 12 tackles for loss, two sacks and a 20-tackle performance against Mepham. He played with a different type of intensity — “business-like” as Martin described it — and on Wednesday night, he won the Bill Piner Award as Nassau’s best linebacker.
“It means a lot because I feel like my work didn’t go unrecognized,” said Bromley, who at 5-9 played this season at 190 pounds. “I really grinded and I really persevered and I never gave up and I just really got the recognition. I always stayed humble and I played with a chip on my shoulder and it really just worked out for the best.”
His leadership helped Long Beach to its first winning season since 2013, as the Marines finished 6-4 and advanced to the Nassau II semifinal before losing to eventual Long Island champion Garden City.
“I play with a type of intensity no one else plays with, I feel like,” Bromley said. “So people just look at me different and I feel like when I’m out on the field, people’s intensity change and their attitudes change.”
Bromley wasn’t alone in taking home some impressive hardware Wednesday, as Freeport’s Jaelin Hood won the Jets Receiver Award as Nassau’s best wide receiver.
“It’s just an honor,” Hood said. “I’m just very thankful that I’m eligible just to run for that award. So many greats have won this award and it’s very nice to be one of them.”
Hood finished his senior season with 18 total touchdowns and 725 receiving yards. He had a knack for the big play with 10 of his 33 receptions resulting in touchdowns. He also had four rushing touchdowns and defensive and special teams scores such as a 99-yard kick-off return and 95-yard interception return touchdown. He had receiving scores of 44 and 49 yards in Freeport’s 28-14 Long Island Championship victory over Floyd, including one on the opening drive.
“I just had to get the team riled up and get them started because we don’t really start off good in the first half,” Hood said. “I had to get it started and start the engine for them and let the car run.”