By Joseph Staszewski
The Royals are the kings of Queens football, thanks to their best season in a dozen years.
Christ the King went undefeated in the regular season before losing a heartbreaker in its first CHSFL Class AA final since 2003. Holy Cross held its own in the “AA” under first-year head coach Tim Smith.
Campus Magnet was much improved, but just missed out on a playoff spot in the PSAL’s top league. Bayside, Jamaica, John Adams and Springfield Gardens were some of the best clubs in the PSAL Bowl Conference, with Jamaica reaching the semifinals.
Here are the players who were a big part of all of it and the best in Queens:
All-Queens Player of the Year: David Navas, Christ the King
Christ the King’s offensive attack was versatile, but Navas was the guy who made it all go. The cool-headed senior led two game-winning drives and made sure all of the team’s weapons were used effectively. Navas completed 57 percent of his passes for 1,208 yards and 12 touchdowns to just two interceptions.
All-Queens Coach of the Year: Jason Brown, Christ the King
Brown has accomplished in three years what others have struggled to do—make Christ the King a consistent winner. The Royals won the CHSFL AA regular season title and reached their first “AA” title game in 12 years, thanks to the discipline and accountability Brown has brought. The future is even brighter.
OL/DL Stephen Barongi,
The senior was the anchor of both of the Knights’ lines on one of the top defensive teams in the CHSFL. Barongi made a team-leading 55 tackles. He also had four sacks, recovered a fumble and blocked a field goal.
QB/DB Tajmaleeak Beckett, Flushing
Flushing took a step back in other areas, but the passing game wasn’t one of them, thanks to Beckett. The senior completed 63 percent of his passes for 1,326 yards and eight touchdowns. He also ran for 159 yards and two scores.
RB/DB Giovanni Paul Downie, Christ the King
The senior was a versatile player for the Royals. He was a playmaking defensive back, one of its top rushers and a pass catcher. Downie compiled 633 all-purpose yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.
RB/SS Aaron Griffin,
The speedy Griffin was the Knights’ most productive offensive player. The senior posted 1,097 all-purpose yards, including 841 on the ground. Three of his five touchdowns came in a 246-yard performance against Chaminade.
WR/DB Bryan Mariner,
Mariner was the best playmaker in the borough. The senior threw a touchdown, ran for four, caught three and also returned a kick for a score. He compiled 1,207 yards of total offense and also made 16 tackles on defense.
QB Que Raun Mosby,
The dual threat was a major headache for opposing defenses in his second year under center for Campus Magnet. The senior threw for 541 yards and five touchdowns and ran for 100 yards and five more scores.
RB/LB Siddiq Muhammed, Christ the King
Muhammed was the most explosive and physical of the Royals’ running backs. The junior ran for 403 yards in eight games and scored a team-leading 11 touchdowns to help Christ the King win the CHSFL “AA”’ regular season title.
RB/LB Jeremiah Nelson,
Nelson was the heart and soul of the Holy Cross team and one of its unquestioned leaders. The senior posted 468 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns. He also made 36 tackles on defense and collected an interception.
WR Tosin Oyekanmi, Christ the King
Oyekanmi’s performance and impact improved each week. He was good for a deep ball or a key first-down grab. The junior caught 30 passes for 674 yards and eight touchdowns for the Royals.
CB Brent Priester,
Christ the King
The super-athletic senior was all over the field for an underrated Christ the King defense. Priester made a team-leading 10 tackles per game, including 11 in the “AA” title game. He also had two sacks.
OL/DL Lorenzo Worrell, Christ the King
Worrell was one of the top linemen in the CHSFL, period. The senior anchored the offensive line that was the backbone of the Royals vaunted running game. He also made 71 tackles, including nine sacks.
QB Shariff Abukari, Bayside
RB A.J. Hoy,
St. Francis Prep
RB Christopher Clarke, Springfield Gardens
RB/LB Ahmad Fernandez, Christ the King
RB Garfield McDonald, Jamaica
DL Justin Pierre Louis,
DB/WR Benjamin Obikoya, Jamaica
OL Jason Mohr, Holy Cross
RB/SS Dayshawn Small. Long Island City
LB Donte Snell, Holy Cross
QB/DB Joshua Timmer, Beach Channel
DE Joshua Varner,
WR Elijah Walcott, Bayside
LB/OL Cashane White,
OL Nick Zovich, St. Francis Prep