It was the first varsity touchdown Chris Naronis tossed to Jason Kozak in game action for Floral Park, but it’s far from the first time the two connected for a score.
Kozak, playing in his first football game since the eighth grade, nearly saw his first target end in an interception when a Roosevelt defender jumped the pass. But Kozak stuck with the play and reeled in the deflection for a 40-yard touchdown on the opening drive for Floral Park.
"I thought he was wide open and then the defender made a great play," Naronis said. "But [Kozak] made a great concentration catch and just took it to the house."
It was the first score for host Floral Park en route to a 35-8 victory over Roosevelt in Nassau Conference III football Saturday afternoon. And although Kozak hasn’t played varsity football until this season, he and Naronis maintained a connection from simpler times.
"Back in sixth grade for the Floral Park Titans, we had some good chemistry," Kozak said with a laugh. "And it’s coming back now."
Floral Park (2-1) scored all 35 points in the first half, highlighted by a 29-point second quarter.
Matthew Buonocore, who rushed for 48 yards on seven carries, opened the second quarter with a 9-yard touchdown run to cap a 13-play, 70-yard drive with 11:48 remaining in the second quarter.
"We have a lot of weapons," coach Ron Pickett said. "We have a lot of skill guys and a lot of returners that are experienced."
Naronis completed 6 of 8 passes for 193 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 79 yards on nine carries and a score. Kozak added a 60-yard touchdown reception, Matt Ollen had a 25-yard touchdown reception and Ollen and Buonocore each had interceptions in the second quarter.
"With homecoming this week, we wanted to show off for the crowd, show off for ourselves," Naronis said. "It definitely gave fuel to the fire for sure."
Roosevelt (1-2) scored on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Jahsir Gayle to Jahmier Tillery in the fourth quarter.
The Floral Park offensive line, featuring Joaquin Llaurado, Joseph Grassi, TJ Conboy, Jalen Arthur and Devin Spitz, controlled the line of scrimmage. Llaurado, at 6-3, 285 pounds and generating Division I interest, sets the tone for the unit.
"I say he’s the best offensive lineman on Long Island," Naronis said. "He’s a tank. He makes plays, he puts kids on their behind, makes huge holes for the running game. In the passing game, he leaves me a good pocket. He’s real pivotal."
Llaurado credits the success to the time he and his offensive line put in after practice.
"We have so much pride," Llaurado said. "It’s always who can pancake who, who can get the better block, it’s always a competition. We are always coming out here for extra work and trying to get better."