Wantagh defensive coordinator Tony Carter spent two weekends at the beginning of the month preparing his defense to play against Roosevelt’s talented quarterback, his son Idris.
On Thursday the Carters and a few integral members of that Wantagh team were on the same sideline for the annual Exceptional Seniors game between all-stars of Conferences I/IV and Conferences II/III at the Mitchel Athletic Complex.
Carter had 94 yards and a touchdown on six carries and was named the offensive MVP as the II/III All-Stars won, 34-7.
“It’s a pleasure to be with him,” Tony said. “Now I don’t have to catch myself just watching him. When we play against him, I have to make sure I’m a coach and not just a dad.”
Carter’s 12-yard scoring run on the opening drive of the second half gave his team a 20-0 lead. Malverne’s Louis Ridley immediately answered with a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, but that was all the scoring by the I/IV All-Stars.
“It was fun being with my dad today,” Idris said. “To go out on this note and end it with the group of guys that we had here was great.”
Division’s Peter Stanley opened the scoring with a 6-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter. Wantagh’s Tom Von Bargen put Conference II/III up 13-0 with a 3-yard touchdown run and Lionel Phillips of Valley Stream Central and Matt Tarantola of Mineola added 1-yard scoring runs in the fourth quarter.
Along with Von Bargen, Wantagh was represented by Mike Lombardi, Nick Teresky and Michael Rodin.
“Technically I had five sons playing today,” Tony Carter said. “I don’t look at them any different than I look at my own. The minute they decided to do it, I asked if I could coach this game. If I could coach these kids one more time, I would.”
It was an especially meaningful game for Lombardi, who came back this season from an injury that ended his junior year after one game.
“It was a lot of hard work to get here,” he said. “It was a fun experience and season and a great way to go out in my senior year.”
There were other family connections in the game. Brothers Matt and Ryan Hegi of Mepham got to play in one more game together.
“Our dad brought us to this game every year and we’ve watched from the sidelines, so to get to play was a dream come true,” Matt said. “And obviously playing with your brother is the best.”
Matt made seven tackles and was named the II/III defensive MVP.
“This game is always a lot of fun,” said Roosevelt coach Joe Vito, who was on the II/III staff and went against his nephew Dan, who coaches at East Rockaway and was on the I/IV staff. “The Nassau county all-stars is really a family affair.”