By Laura Amato
They kept using the same word – brothers.
The seven Christ the King football stars who signed their National Letters of Intent Feb. 1 have gone through just about everything they can on the field and it only made sense that they commit to this next step in their careers together.
So, when the seven Royals put pen to paper on National Signing Day, they did it, not as teammates, but as brothers, a football family that has helped change the gridiron culture in Middle Village.
“The stuff that happened here, I’ll never forget it,” said University of Albany-bound defensive end Anthony Lang. “These are my brothers for life and I’ll love these guys forever. They’re my brothers, there’s no other word for it.”
In addition to Lang, Justin Terry (Monmouth), Hasan Chambers (Monmouth) Jonathan Coste (Delaware State), Nathaniel Pierre (Marist), Jonathan Mendez (Alfred State) and Randy Pringle (Stony Brook) all inked their names on the dotted line.
The group couldn’t quite wipe the smiles off their faces as they stood in front of a jam-packed crowd of friends, family and coaches and all seven standouts were certain of one thing – they’ve set the football bar just a bit higher at Christ the King.
“It was surreal to see almost the whole school sitting in the gym,” Pringle said. “That’s so important. To see the amount of attention that we’re getting now, I definitely feel like we’re leaving a legacy.”
The Royals came up short of their championship aspirations this season, but this year’s senior class notched big-time victories over Poly Prep and St. Anthony’s and helped lay the foundation for the future of the program.
“They set the bar very high for themselves and they got us to ‘AAA,’” Christ the King coach Jason Brown said. “We’ve got a lot of potential that we’re bringing up and these guys laid that foundation. I can’t wait.”
Christ the King boasted 26 seniors on its roster this season and while the signing-seven stole the spotlight last week, Brown is certain even more players will cement their college choices sooner rather than later.
“This class is very fortunate and I’ve been able to coach these guys for all four years,” Brown said. “I was just blessed to have this much talent.”
This year wasn’t perfect – losing in the first round of the playoffs was never really the plan – but the Royals standouts can’t bring themselves to regret a moment.
Christ the King has always been a basketball school. It will always be a basketball school, but for a few months last fall it was also a football school and the Royals were, just that, athletic royalty.
“Everybody knew that we were on the rise in the football world and everyone knew kind of who we were,” Lang said. “They loved us like they love basketball this year and all the younger kids they know we’re leaving something behind for them. That’s such a big thing for us.”
They’re all heading to separate teams and brand-new uniforms, but these Royals aren’t severing family ties quite yet. They’ll still be just as supportive, just as encouraging and just as determined to see each other succeed.
After all, that’s what brothers do.
“I feel great. I know there’s going to be a lot of competition that’s going to make me better,” Pringle said. “I just feel very confident about my future.”