2005-01-21 / Sports

Whitehead, Rey Receive PSAL Football Honors

By Elio Velez

Far Rockaway’s Lawrence Whitehead made an impact on his football team at many spots this year. At runningback, Whitehead gets the tough yardage needed to help the offense. At linebacker, Whitehead will make the timely tackle on a fourth and one to stop the opponent’s offense cold.

In his start at quarterback against New Utrecht this year, Whitehead displayed his throwing ability. He threw a beautiful 69 yard touchdown bomb to WR Shiloh Brown on the first play of the game to get the Seahorses rolling to a 26-0 victory.

For his versatility, Whitehead was selected by the PSAL New York City Coaches Association All-Queens football team at a ceremony held at Stuyvesant High School last Wednesday. He was chosen along with teammates WR James Romain, DT Ricardo Remy and QB Chris Howard.

“I was very surprised because I always heard the names James and Ricky and I didn’t hear my name until yesterday (last Tuesday),” Whitehead, a 5’9, 215 pound senior, said.

“I actually found out after school and I happened to bump into coach Kenny (Ken Hernandez) and he told me I was going to a dinner tomorrow. I said ‘what?!!’ I was nominated and I didn’t even know!”

Whitehead was approached by head coach Anthony Miele before the start of the season. Willing to help the team anyway he can, Whitehead relished the chance given by Miele to be a force at any position that was assigned.

“He said I was a great athlete so he was going to put me wherever I can be, Whitehead said. “Receiver, runningback, quarterback, linebacker, anywhere. I’m an athlete. I can do it.”

The season did not wind up with the playoff berth that Whitehead wanted so badly to attain in his senior season. The Seahorses finished with a three game winning streak to end up at 5-4 but were eliminated.

“Coach said the season happens so fast and you know it and we can’t stop it. I wish we could take time back and get everything and start that season over.”

Though it was a disappointing end for his team, Whitehead appreciated that the city football coaches chose him for his ability to make an impact

“I dedicated so much to Far Rock. I feel I deserved it. I feel that I stepped up my game with more intensity and more competitive than last year (2003 season).”

Whitehead’s close relationship with his uncle, a 20+ year veteran of the New York Police Department, led him to choose law enforcement as a career.

“I’ve been thinking about becoming an FBI agent. I like to protect and serve and they do a lot of things people don’t know about.”

With the football over, the academic season comes into focus, especially since Whitehead must select a college. He is open to go anywhere where the opportunity to play the sport will give Whitehead a chance to prosper for not only himself but the team.

“California, Virgina, Florida, New Jersey- it doesn’t matter. Whatever college wants me, they’re going to get one good athlete,” Whitehead said.

Beach Channel Honored

Beach Channel senior linebacker Karakus Scott and offensive lineman Victor Sanchez were selected to the Queens All-Boro team. Scott led the team with 100 tackles and scored a touchdown. Sanchez finished a three year career at the varsity level. Lawrence Whitehead

Vincent Rey

Vincent Rey felt his Bayside team was flat. In a football game with rival Far Rockaway last year, the Commodores were being pushed all over the field. Down 6-0 and with the Seahorses threatening to score, Rey made a big play that turned the game around.

The linebacker knew that Far Rock’s quarterback Chris Howard would look to the throw to the middle of the field. Reading it right away, Rey caught the ball at the 8 yard line and ran untouched for a 92 yard interception to tie the game and spark a 26-6 win.

With his smarts on the football field as well as the classroom, the Far Rockaway native received numerous honors from the New York PSAL Football Coaches Association last Wednesday.

Not only was Rey named to the Queens All-Boro team, he was nominated to the All-City football team and the all-academic team.

Rey’s choice of selecting Bayside was made by his mother, who stressed academics as the focal point of his education. Though he played five years with the Far Rock Panthers pee wee team, football wasn’t considered when Rey’s mother made the choice.

“She’s a guidance counselor at MS 133. She knew about high schools and that Bayside was on the map acadmeically,” Rey said. “It’s in Queens and that’s where I’m going. She also said there’s nothing I can do about it,” Rey laughed.

Instead of playing with his friends at Far Rockaway High School, Rey made the hour plus trip to Bayside and didn’t even know they had a football team.

“Football wise I didn’t even know how good they were. My father told me that they played it there. I knew that I wanted to play high school football.

With his size at 6’1 and 250 pounds, head coach Joe Capuana quickly made him an inside linebacker. Adjusting to the positions was hard at first but by sophomore year, there was no doubt that #56 was making an impact on the field. Rey’s idol is known by New York Giants fans.

“Lawrence Taylor is the reason I wear number 56. When he used to play he seemed to always to be around the ball and it was always my goal to do that.”

With 92 tackles, three sacks and the respect of his peers, Rey is known by everyone throughout the city. He has helped Bayside maintain a winning tradition that has made them the best team in Queens.

Rey says that the 2004 season was very rewarding as they bounced back from early adversity.. The team had to forfeit a game to JFK after certain members committed illegal activities on the MTA bus that runs to the school.

Bouncing back against Brooklyn Tech, one of the top five teams in the city, would prove a big challenge for Bayside. Rey felt that the team would bond together to show a great effort and did that by winning 24-20.

“Brooklyn Tech is my biggest win. We were coming off a week that we had to forfeit and we knew that they was the team to beat.

With 17 seconds left, at the 17 yard line, no timeouts and fourth down, our quarterback (Kenan Brogdon) broke four tackles to score. That lifted everything and we won four straight games,” Rey said.

Rey will make the decision this time on which college he accepts. “I narrowed it down to Duke and Hofstra. It’s going to be a tough decision.”

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