2005-11-25 / Sports

Former Bayside Football Star Commits To Duke

By Elio Velez

VINNY REYVINNY REY Vinny Rey watched from the sidelines as his alma mater Bayside lost to Lehman 27-9 in the PSAL City Championship semifinals last Saturday in the Bronx. The Far Rockaway resident, who graduated as one of the top linebackers in the city last year, wasn’t pleased at the result of his former squad’s hard fought but eventual defeat.

Though the game was a loss, Rey’s own football life has been full of victories. After a four year Bayside, the 6 foot 1, 250 pound linebacker took his talents to Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania for one more high school season in September.

A strong and quick player, Rey had already committed to Duke University last spring but felt another year of high school seasoning would prepare him for the rigors of college football.

The results has been pleasing to say the least as Rey quickly gained a starting spot at outside linebacker and led the team in tackles.

I’m doing very well, Rey, who earned PSAL All-City and All- Academic team honors last January. “It’s tough down there but I’m having a lot of fun.”

James Romain receives the Outback Empire State All Star Football award from former NFL QB Boomer Esiason (far right) while being interviewed by Carl Reuter from MSG Network. Photo By Pete BorrielloJames Romain receives the Outback Empire State All Star Football award from former NFL QB Boomer Esiason (far right) while being interviewed by Carl Reuter from MSG Network. Photo By Pete Borriello Mercersburg also had a lot of fun as the team finished with a 9-1 and Rey’s efforts convinced Duke to offer him a scholarship to play football. Rey will have to wait until February as per NCAA rules to sign the letter of intent.

In an article published by the Winston Salem Journal, Mercersburg Academy head coach Dan Walker gave big praise to his linebacker for his physical and mental abilities.

“He leads us with his attitude out there. He’s a smart kid and a smart football player,” Walker said.

“He’s a big kid who can run. He’s sideline to sideline. I think he’ll play linebacker in college. He’s got the toughness to do it.”

High School Football Alumni

James Romain finished a stellar season at Hudson Valley Community College in upstate New York. After getting some buzz for his outstanding performance in his senior season at Far Rockaway, he continued his hot play by winning all star honors at the Fugazzy Senior Bowl and the Outback Steakhouse Empire State All Star Football Game at Hofstra.

An all-around player who was featured at multiple positions in high school, Romain was shifted to cornerback in his freshman year at Hudson Valley. He quickly adjusted to the role and impressed scouts with five interceptions, with three of those picks returned for touchdowns. On October 8, Romain was honored with the Northeast Football Conference Defensive Player of the Week. He intercepted and went to the end zone for a 27 yard touchdown which clinched a 14-0 win Morrisville State on October 8.

Romain was also featured in special teams and averaged 19 yards per return on punts. Hudson Valley rallied with three straight victories to end the season at 6-4, won the Region III Championship and placed 20th in the NJCAA Top 25 Poll.

Former Far Rockaway and PSAL All Queens football star Lawrence Whitehead is currently enrolled at Virginia Union University in Richmond. Whitehead, who has supported his former teammates on the sidelines during their recent playoff run, is only matriculating in class and did not participate in football this past fall. He wants to transfer to Hudson Valley Community College in the spring and join up with Romain and former teammates Chris Howard and Ricardo Remy for the 2006 football campaign.

Howard got little time as a backup quarterback as he threw only seven pass attempts in the season. Remy encountered registration problems and had to miss the entire season but hopes to play in 2006.

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