Senior Bowl gives players one last chance to shine
Erwin Zavala didn't set the Long Island record for touchdown passes in a season like Tyler Heuer did.
He didn't get to play on the turf at Hofstra or get much recognition.
Listed at 5-5, 120 pounds, Zavala, who played at Roslyn, was the smallest player in last night's Nassau Senior Bowl at Mitchel Field. His Bulldogs went 2-6, with one win coming on a forfeit.
But on the first play of last night's game, Zavala, a free safety, found himself staring straight at Heuer, Oceanside's star quarterback.
"I'm a little nervous because there's a lot of talent on the field,'' Zavala said before the game. "I'm pumped to get a shot at [Heuer] and show that, just because we had a bad year, doesn't mean we don't have good players.''
That's the crux of what the Senior Bowl is about. It's a chance to show off individual talent - even for a guy like Heuer, who threw 34 touchdown passes this season.
"I'd definitely rather be playing this weekend,'' Heuer said, referencing the Long Island Championships. "But this is a great experience and something we're going to have fun with.''
Heuer was enjoying himself when he hit teammate Brian Ellis, the Sailors' tight end who happened to be lined up at left tackle, on a 26-yard touchdown pass. Heuer later was intercepted by Hewlett's Lenny Canales.
Forty-seven All-County players strapped it on for one last time in their high school football careers. At least one player from each Nassau team was chosen, except for the squads playing in this weekend's LICs or those that lost in the county finals.
Like every all-star game, it made for some interesting combinations. Take Mepham's Nick White hitting Elmont's Kevin Johnson on an 11-yard touchdown pass. Mepham beat Elmont, 13-6, in the first round of the playoffs, the Pirates' first postseason win since 1997.
"It's a great honor to be here representing Mepham because we have such a good history,'' White said after his TD pass. "Me and Kevin had a great connection all week and he made a great catch."