When Sachem North junior quarterback Trent Crossan sought some help with his passing technique, he turned to his friend, Floyd quarterback A.J. Otranto. When Otranto, a senior, needed to improve his running skills, he sought out Crossan.
Their teams are the top two seeds in Suffolk Division I for the 2012 season, and Floyd vs. Sachem North has emerged as one of the county’s best rivalries in recent years. But the two starting quarterbacks remain pals.
“Close friends,” Otranto said, “on and off the field. We’re always texting each other.”
“A.J. is a great kid. We have a lot in common,” Crossan countered. “We have great respect for each other and for each other’s teams.”
It’s refreshing to see such sportsmanship between players on rival schools. That’s not always the case. But both players saw a similar scenario develop last year when Trent’s brother, Dalton, and Otranto’s teammate, Stacey Bedell, developed a strong friendship throughout a season that ended with both running backs sharing the Hansen Award.
Can’t say if that will happen again in 2012, but it’s clear that both quarterbacks will play key roles for teams with Long Island Championship aspirations. Crossan, especially, has a lot to prove because he suffered a torn ACL in his right knee in Week 4 and missed the rest of the season. He had surgery on Nov. 29.
After extensive rehab, Crossan (pictured above) pronounced himself 100 percent. “Better than before,” he said during Tuesday’s preseason photo shoot at Newsday. “I’m bigger, faster and stronger. The knee feels fine. I don’t even think about it. The injury is not even in my head.”
Crossan, a dangerous cutback threat from the QB spot, has grown two inches and added 15 pounds of muscle to his 5-9, 185-pound frame. He said he hasn’t been clocked recently in the 40, but believes he could beat his previous best time of 4.51.
He worked a lot to improve his passing – thanks, A.J.! – and said the Flaming Arrows will have a more balanced attack this season. Conversely, Otranto, who has a fleet of fleet receivers returning, may have to run more to offset the loss of Bedell. Thanks, Trent!
“I asked A.J. to look at my throwing mechanics,” Crossan said.
“Trent gave me a few pointers on my cut-and-run techniques,” Otranto noted. “We want to make Long Island football better and get more colleges to look at Long Island players.
Both players have attracted interest from out-of-town colleges and it’s likely they are on a collision course to meet in the county finals, which would be a rematch of their Week 6 matchup. On those occasions, friendship will be forgotten for a couple of hours.
“When the game comes, all ties are off,” Crossan said.