By Laura Amato
There were plenty of big-time moments on the gridiron in Queens this season.
Eagle Academy III clinched the PSAL cup championship in dramatic fashion with a pair of goal-line stands, including one in overtime to defeat Frederick Douglass Academy.
Bayside and Springfield Gardens also impressed in the bowl division, both earning playoff berths this fall.
Christ the King led the charge in the CHSFL with a dominant regular season – including victories over St. Anthony’s and Poly Prep – while Holy Cross grabbed a Week One win over St. Francis Prep in the Battle of the Boulevard.
Of course, none of that would have been possible without the players. Here they are, the best of the best in Queens:
Player of the Year: Anthony Lang, Christ the King (See Page 37).
Coach of the Year: Jason Levitt, Bayside
The longtime Commodores coach led his squad back to the PSAL postseason and a semifinal appearance this season with a strong showing on both sides of the ball. Bayside balanced a strong offense – with one of the top lines in the Bowl division – with a hard-hitting defense that held opposing teams to single digits in the first seven games of the season. Levitt and the Commodores will likely be back again next year, with most of the team’s starting lineup set to return.
Justin Terry, Christ the King
The Monmouth-bound defensive back was a solid presence in the secondary for the Royals all season, racking up two interceptions, three fumble recoveries and 28 total tackles. He regularly took on opposing teams’ top scoring threats, matching each challenge with a fresh burst of speed and hard-hitting attack.
Christian Valdez, Holy Cross
The senior quarterback settled into his role under center nicely this season with 1,135 passing yards and nine touchdowns. Valdez, who picked up a CHSFL Golden Eleven award this season, averaged over 113 yards through the air per game.
Robert Williams, Bayside
The junior played just about everywhere for the Commodores this fall and finished the year with 12 touchdowns. He hauled in 24 receptions for 686 yards and also chipped in 254 yards on the ground as well, averaging over 14 yards per carry. On the defensive side of the ball Williams added 18 tackles from the defensive back position.
Elijah Walcott, Bayside
The senior was an impressive figure on the field this year, regularly towering over opponents and using every inch of his frame to deliver big-time hits. The linebacker racked up 41 tackles and three fumble recoveries in addition to scoring a defensive touchdown. Walcott also chipped in 411 total yards on offense, rushing for one touchdown during the season.
Jonathan Coste, Christ the King
The 6-foot-3 lineman was all but impossible to slow down and opposing teams regularly schemed against him, drawing double teams almost every time he lined up. Coste recorded 44 tackles and three sacks in 2016 and notched a season-high nine tackles in the Royals’ 17-13 victory over Poly Prep.
Nicholas Hunter, Christ the King
The junior seriously enjoyed tackling opposing players this season. Hunter finished the year with 82 tackles as well as three sacks and one fumble recovery. He recorded double-digit tackles in five games this year.
Tequan Evans, Bayside
The junior quarterback was a two-fold threat this season, sparking the Commodores’ offense with his arm and his feet. He threw for 1,142 yards and eight touchdowns this season and ran for 335 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.
Gary Newman, Eagle Academy III
The junior threw for 787 yards, 12 touchdowns and just one interception in the Eagles’ championship season this fall. He was also a threat on his feet, adding 884 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground. And, for good measure, Newman was a strong defender for the Eagles, racking up three interceptions and one fumble recovery.
Justin Felder, Holy Cross
The junior running back found his footing this season – literally.
Felder racked up 905 yards on the ground, averaging just under seven yards every time he touched the ball, and found the end zone nine times.
Senai Haywood, Springfield Gardens
The Golden Eagles junior lined up everywhere this fall, but he was at his best out of the backfield. Haywood recorded 602 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns and three two-point conversions. He also played in the secondary on defense, finishing the season with 37 tackles and one interception.
Camarin Blair, St. Francis Prep
The senior lineman was a bright spot in an otherwise difficult season for the Terriers. Blair played both sides for St. Francis Prep this season, seeing time at tackle and guard, but was best on the offensive line, helping the Terriers average 120 rushing yards per game.
DB: Terrell Jones, Christ the King
DL: Lucas Anastasis, Holy Cross
RB: Dayshawn Small, Long Island City
RB: Siddiq Muhammad, Christ the King
RB: Garfield McDonald, Jamaica
RB: Jonathan Cato, Bayside
RB: Joshua Timmer, Beach Channell
WR: Tosin Oyekanmi, Christ the King
WR: Michael Ciardiello, Holy Cross
WR: Joshua Alphonso, Springfield Gardens
QB: Steve Cadesti, Springfield Gardens