Sachem had its usual representation in the annual Empire Challenge, an all-star football game that pins Long Island against New York City, held Tuesday night at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.
Sachem North senior Vincent Provenzano, an All-Long Island selection and the 2011 Black Helmet Award winner at Sachem, started as a defensive back for Long Island. His Sachem teammate Dalton Crossan, the 2011 Hansen Award winner as the top football player in Suffolk County and one of the most prolific athletes in Sachem history, was sidelined as a precautionary measure as he recovers from a slight ankle issue. Crossan signed on to play at the University of New Hampshire and will embark on his collegiate football career later this summer.
Long Island beat New York City this year, 31-7. Long Island leads the all-time series, 9-6, since it was played in this format since 1998. In 1996 and 1997 it was originally a game that featured Nassau County against Suffolk County.
Other Sachem connections to the game include Sachem Athletic Director Pete Blieberg, who is the Director of Game Operations and runs the event each year. Sachem trainer Mike Wulforst was on-hand to lend his medical expertise, and countless former and current players and coaches from both Sachem East and North were in the stands to cheer on Long Island.
Provenzano and Crossan are the 25th and 26th players, respectively, selected from Sachem North to play in the Empire Challenge, which is now in its 17th season. Sachem has had at least one player in the game every year except 2006.
“It’s a great honor to play in this game,” said Provenzano. “I’ve come to this event every year and it’s always been a dream to come out here and represent Long Island.”
Story/photo courtesy of Chris R. Vaccaro, Sachem Schools