With only four practices before the Nassau Senior Bowl, which pits the best players of Conferences I and IV against II and III, it can take a few drives for the offenses to click.
But with two of Nassau’s top quarterbacks at the helm for Conferences II/III in Elmont’s Aaron Ruthman and Long Beach’s Sam Brown, it didn’t take too long to get the scoring uncorked.
After a slow first quarter, Ruthman, the offensive MVP for Nassau II/III, and Brown made Thursday’s game at Mitchel Athletic Complex look like a backyard Thanksgiving game of pitch-and-catch.
Ruthman completed 8 of 15 passes for 116 yards and a touchdown and Brown was 3-for-5 with 70 yards and a touchdown as Nassau II/III won, 41-7.
“We all kind of got together and we were really able to build chemistry after just four days,” Ruthman said. “It’s not really hard when you’re having fun. We knew if we just had fun and played like we know how to, we could pull out a win.”
In the second quarter, Brown hit Mepham’s Mike Valentino out of the backfield for a 29-yard gain. Bellmore JFK’s Dom Brocco finished off the drive on the next play when he ran 47 yards untouched up the middle to the end zone.
“It’s different playing with all these new guys, but when you have guys as talented as all of the players on this field, it’s not too difficult,” Brown said.
Nassau II/III broke open the game on its next drive. Ruthman made two big plays — a 13-yard scamper on a read-option keep and a 29-yard strike to Long Beach’s Vincent Deale. Alex Chery of Sewanhaka scored on a 3-yard run to finish off the drive.
Nassau I/IV seemed to get it together on the opening drive of the second half. On fourth-and-2, Malverne’s Dante Lacroix made what at that point was the play of the game, scrambling back nearly 15 yards to escape a sack before finding Clarke’s Corey Rosenbloom for a 28-yard catch-and-run to bring the ball to the 11-yard line.
But two plays later, Nassau II/III defensive MVP Danny Amaya scooped up a loose ball and ran 99 yards the other way for a touchdown. The Lawrence defensive back also had five tackles.
“It’s really a blessing because a lot of people don’t get the chance to play in this game,” Amaya said. “On Thanksgiving, there’s nothing better than that.”
Ruthman capped the scoring in the fourth quarter when he found Elmont teammate Lucas Mahieu for a 25-yard touchdown.
“I had missed him earlier and we talked in the locker room at halftime — ‘we need to get that play again’ — and we knew we couldn’t leave today without scoring,” Ruthman said. “It’s a great feeling coming out here and playing with all these players.”
Elmont’s Jaydel Richardson was another key on defense with four solo tackles and a sack.
Baldwin running back Jon DeBique and East Meadow linebacker Paul Imperiale were the MVPs for Nassau I/IV.