BC Shamrock Midgets Score The Play of The Week

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Don’t let their name fool you. Judging from the amazing win the Broad Channel Shamrock Midgets scooped up last Sunday, October 14 against the Glen Cove Cardinals, these nine- and 10-year-old boys aren’t just giants, they’re football titans living up to the Broad Channel Athletic Club’s (BCAC) rich football legacy.

In the fourth quarter, the Cardinals were ahead 25-19, but then with just three minutes left to the game, Shamrock Captain Petey Franchock upset the Cardinals’ advance by shrewdly dropping back to pass, avoided the rush, scrambled to his right, then to his left, and scored a touchdown that won the game with a nail-biting 26-25. It was an artful dance that had the Cardinals running, but not fast enough. Plus with TD Thomas Dreizen coming into the picture at the 16-second mark, he totally spooked the #13 Cardinal runner. Classic!

Head coach Brad Palisi was beyond stoked, he was stunned. “Every time I play back the video from those last three minutes of the game, I’m beyond impressed. These boys really executed an offensive run that is so advanced for their age. This is a smart group of boys, who really think on their feet. We had a rough start to the season, but our boys did not let that damper their spirits nor determination. Plus our four captains, Petey, Craig Palisi, Jack Leary and Christian Borhi, consistently worked hard to pull the team together,” Palisi.

Assistant Coach Alex Lubianka agreed. “These kids really worked. This is one of the best football games I’ve ever seen them play.

Lubianka, at just age 16, coaches the team even though he recently had to put his own high school football ambitions with St. Francis Prep on hold because he hurt his back. He said his love for the sport and the Shamrocks keeps him motivated. “I played with the Shamrocks in various divisions for a couple of years. This is one of the greatest youth football teams in the city that really teaches you not just the fundamentals of football, but the value of teamwork and discipline; and this season’s Midget team really reflects the Shamrock spirit.”

The BCAC, founded in 1961, has engaged youth in Broad Channel, the peninsula and beyond in a variety of sports, including football. According to their mission statement, “The BCAC promotes sportsmanship, self-esteem and the development of life skills through engaging our youth in sports while providing a safe, healthy and positive environment. The skills are developed through the fundamentals of athletics.” And Coach Palisi, who has coached Shamrock football for six years, is a firm believer that the BCAC does that and more for sports-driven youth. “The BCAC is privately-owned and funded through donations and fundraising. While Rockaway is known for basketball, Broad Channel has always been big for football. Local Jack Conneely is one of the first Shamrock players to be inducted into the BCAC Football Hall of Fame. The Shamrocks wouldn’t still be here, if it wasn’t for guys like him, and Jack still continuously comes to the field to support these boys.

“These kids grow together from the Peanuts to the Pee Wees, the Midgets and the Ponies. You see them grow not just in age and size, but with the discipline, professionalism and team spirit they bring to the field. The Midgets have three head coaches, Tim Leary, Darren Franchock and myself. We’ve volunteered for years coaching these kids, and we love it. It’s not just about winning games, but seeing how these kids mature into fine team players and human beings,” Palisi said.

Franchock said he’s really pleased with the team. “We lost the first four games, but this last game’s victory shows how strong and determined our Midgets are. We only have a rotation of 14 players, much less than the other teams in the Nassau Suffolk Football League. Our players continually work hard,” he said.

Shamrock Midget Captain Craig Palisi summed it up succinctly with this: “We played good. We played hard, and as a team, we didn’t give up.”

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