Longstanding football rivalries were put aside Thursday in the Nassau Exceptional Senior Game at Mitchel Athletic Complex, as players who’d normally square off on Saturdays wore the same uniforms for a Thanksgiving morning showdown of the best seniors in the county.
The White team, comprised of players from Conferences I and IV, defeated the Blue team, players from Conferences II and III, 28-13, in front of about 500 people.
Kevin McCormick of Farmingdale earned offensive MVP honors for the White team after passing for 130 yards and two touchdowns and running six times for 37 yards. Elmont’s Chester Anderson earned offensive MVP for the Blue team for catching eight passes for 203 yards and a TD and rushing once for a 6-yard TD.
Carle Place’s John DeRidder (White) and Hewlett’s Chris Rodriguez (Blue) were named the defensive MVPs.
Both McCormick and MacArthur’s dual-threat quarterback Kyle Acquavella had weapons not usually at their disposal.
McCormick found Massapequa tight end Owen Glascoe on well-timed catch-and-run that resulted in a 51-yard touchdown and a 21-6 lead early in the third quarter after Farmingdale’s Briant DeFelice converted the extra point.
“It was interesting because of the rivalry between Farmingdale and Massapequa, but Owen’s a great kid and we had a great practice together this week,” McCormick said. “We hooked up for a nice touchdown.”
Acquavella made use of Anderson, one of Long Island’s most explosive receivers but a rival in Conference II. The two teamed up for a short completion that Anderson turned into a 60-yard score.
“He’s a very good player, great to have on our team,” Acquavella said.
“It was a good connection we both had,” Anderson said.
Anderson’s score represented too little too late for the Blue team, which trailed 28-13 with nine minutes remaining. The White team outgained the Blue team 394-257 because of its work on the ground.
Carle Place’s Luke Caliendo amassed 62 yards to lead all rushers, followed by Hempstead’s Jevon Andrews with 45, McCormick with 37 and Hempstead’s Dashawn Meadors with 29.
Most of Andrews’ yardage came on a 30-yard touchdown scamper in the third quarter.
The win was a sweet one for McCormick, who said this might be the last time he straps on football pads. He said he plans to play lacrosse in college but is thankful for everything football has given him.
“It taught me so much, playing since I was five,” he said. “It taught me so much about life, and I’m just really thankful for my parents and my family always getting me here and putting in that extra work.”
He had another reason to be thankful, having been given the opportunity to play one last time with several of his Dalers teammates. Antonio Smikle Jr., who caught two passes for 56 yards and a touchdown, said it was great to play with McCormick one last time.
“We already had that chemistry, so we didn’t really have to build anything during these practices,” he said. “We’ve been working since August, so it was good having him.”