Oceanside Football
There is a palpable buzz permeating the halls of Oceanside High School these days as the high-powered Sailors football team has jumped out to a 6-0 start in Nassau Conference I. It has been 33 years since the program won a county title, and with quarterback Tyler Heuer leading the way with an astounding 22 touchdown passes, the school and the town are stoked.


“The other sports teams, the student body, the people outside of the school – everybody is behind us,” said second-year coach Rob Blount, who spent three years as offensive coordinator at Lawrence.


While Heuer has deservedly received accolades for his brilliant performance, there are many other standouts for the Sailors. Oceanside’s defensive unit, for example, is determined to make up for last year’s porous effort, when the team allowed 254 points. This year, the team has allowed 72 in six games.


“Our defense has done an outstanding job this year,” Blount said. “The defense takes a lot of pride in their play and they put the onus on themselves to have a big year this year. The defensive is playing lights out so far.”


Safety Chris Flynn leads the team with 40 tackles and three picks. Linebackers Hector Quintin and Brian Ellis are also having outstanding seasons.


The special teams unit has been stellar as well, led by Nick Casio and Alex Meller.


The Sailors have scored more than 40 points in each of the last five games, and much credit goes to its athletic offensive line of Brian Ellis (left tackle), Mike Hertling (left guard), Andrew Eorruso (center), Dan Hernandez (right guard) and Hector Quinn (right tackle). “They go about 6’0” and 215 across the lines. Some guys are a little on the light side but they an outstanding job,” Blount said.


Heuer, who is the first to praise his line, has been sacked just three times in 115 passing attempts and Oceanside is averaging 425 yards of offense a game. “The offensive line is doing a great job in pass protection and opening holes for our backs,” the coach said.


Nick Sherry leads the Sailors in rushing with 47 yards and six touchdowns while Heuer has run for 447 yards and seven scores.


The great play of Tyler Heuer has not surprised his coach, who witnessed the makings of this breakout year last year when Oceanside was 5-3. In 2010, Heuer has thrown for 1,318 yards, 22 touchdowns and only two interceptions in six games. He has a stable of excellent wideouts in Gene Garay (30 catches, 549 yards, 7 touchdowns), Chris Hughes (18 catches, 262 yards, 4 touchdowns), Phil Ragona (14 catches,  256 yards, 5 touchdowns) and Joe Swanson (11 catches, 176 yards, 3 touchdowns). “We knew we were going to throw the ball a lot this year,” Blount said, noting that the quarterback and the four receivers are all returning starters. “Tyler has four outstanding receivers he can throw to.”


Heuer’s player has drawn the attention of several Division I-AA schools (Stony, UMass, Holy Cross, Lafayette), as well as some Division I-A programs, “UConn was down to see him the other day,” Blount said.


Earlier this season, Heuer set an Oceanside school record with five TD passes, breaking the mark held by former NFL quarterback Jay Fielder (Dolphins and Jets). While Heuer has a bright future, he is focused on the here and now. “We go for wins, not for records, that’s our game plan,” he said. “The counties are a long ways away. We still have the rest of the season to play, but I think we’re a dangerous team.”


Blount said his goal is to build a program that can contend every year, not occasionally. He knows it will take a lot of work to compete year-in and year-out with the likes of Freeport, Farmingdale, Massapequa, East Meadow and the other Conference I rivals. “We’re laying the building blocks now,” he said. “We have a long way to go but this is a big step. We’re trying to get to that upper echelon in Conference I.”



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