With the start of the fall football season a new elite level youth football program has emerged from the division in Northport. The Long Island Knights is a group of top players and coaches who have coached for over 15 years in the area. They joined a new travel select league for 2023 called Big Tri-State. The Big Tri-State league has been in operation for decades. In the new league the LI Knights will face top competition not only from Nassau and Suffolk County, but the NYC boroughs, NJ, PA, CT, and the possibility of playing in a national championship. This is a huge tribute to the leaders of the organization who have worked to provide the children an opportunity to play at a higher level.

“There has been travel lacrosse and soccer forever on Long Island. Those lax and soccer teams go further for games, pay more, and face much stiffer competition. We look at this the same way for football, we are providing an alternative for the kids that are serious about the game and want something more than the beginner model and aren’t afraid to travel to play the best.” said Christian Alfaro, President of the Long Island Knights.

Teams in the Big Tri-State league play the equivalent of what the top youth teams play in the rest of the country. They play high school federation rules from 8 years old and up with no modifications, they have special teams, there are no playing time mandates, and no mercy rules. It’s a rare find in New York, and not for everyone.

The LI Knights staff and leadership includes Coaches who played at University of Tennessee, Stonybrook, as well as other top youth coaches from the region. Players on the LI Knights rosters include award winners and honorees from FBU, Prepredzone, and Nextgen camps as well as some players from the Long Island Elite National Team.

In Week 1 the LI Knights played the historically talented Jamaica Bulldogs, an organization in Queens that has been around for many years. Jamiaca Bulldogs have great players, and their staff includes college, professional, and varsity high school coaches.

Opening day for the LI Knights was a testament to the high level coaching and player talent on the rosters. All of the LI Knights teams went undefeated and unscored upon. Each team took the field in different all-star uniforms for their age group. The younger teams showed out in all white, while the older teams hit the gridiron in black and neon green.

Jamaica Bulldogs 0, LI Knights 26
The 8U Long Island Knights team have 7 and 8 year olds on their roster. The 8U LI Knights earned the victory in their first ever game. The blocking of Sebastian Sala, Chris Brellas, and Chris Kancler led to a three touchdown performance by Peter Grimaldi and another by Luke Brocking. Logan Mandelbaum and Luke Brocking added the two point conversions. Greyson Elshamey, Henry Ward, Dak Cook, Zach Buck, and Kyle Clancy led the defense to the shutout.

Jamaica Bulldogs 0, LI Knights 30
The 10U Long Island Knights have 9 and 10 year old players on their roster. They continued their winning ways into a new league. The undefeated team has won the past two championships competing in the “A” division in the Suffolk County PAL league. The Knights moved on to a more competitive north east regional league in the Big Tri State.

The first week game resulted in a 30-0 over the Jamaica Bulldogs. The team was led by dominating line play of Bobby Pryhocki, Adam Campos, Tyler Brown, Raho Kim, and Michael Kushnir. Ray Catapano had two touchdowns, along with Rocco Augello, and JoJo Costanza each adding a touch down each. Extra point conversions were added by, Cameron Buck, Jack Alexander, Rocco Augello, and Nick Schreiber. The defense was led by Nick Schreiber, LJ Bass, Cameron Buck, Jace Rowe, Jake Brocking, and Jay Bencivenga.


Jamaica Bulldogs 0, LI Knights 33

The 11U Long Island Knights have 9, 10, and 11 year olds on their roster. They posted 27 points by halftime, while their defense let up only 1 first down. After solid runs by Eric Llarraza and Trey Keirnan on the opening drive, Jai’don Dixon “JD” punched it in for the first touchdown of the day. On the ensuing drive Marcus Rodriguez and Jai’don Dixon forced a fumble and it was recovered by Bryce Arroyo to give the LI Knights the ball back. Rodriguez, a dual-threat, quickly scored on the QB keep and converted the extra point on a nice pass to tight-end Glen Baculy. James Simonetti Jr. kicked off again and the LI Knights strong special team play created another fumble which was recovered by Antonio Annunziata and Eric Llarraza putting the offense back in charge. The lightning fast Llarraza scored again on a long run with a key block from Clarke Holm. Rodriguez converted on the extra point. The Jamaica Bulldogs offense was big and strong with very tall receivers, but they were no match for the relentless LI Knights defense. Defensive Linemen James Simonetti Jr. and Adrian Paz locked down the inside with nasty tackles in the backfield, while Trey Kiernan, Eric Llarazza, Tyler Ross, and Clark Holm sealed the edges showcasing an unstoppable open field tackling advantage. Linebacker play from Aavon Pickens, Bryce Arroyo, Jai’don Dixon, and Antonio Anunziata was violent and vicious. Lillian Gallagher, the leader on the offensive line was flawless at center, showing proficiency at long and short snapping while no blocks were given up. Talented younger players Julen Alfaro, Dylan Mcfadzen, and Gianni Bacully made appearances to show they can compete at the older travel select level, as well as rookies Ariana Malvoisin, Ryan Mcfadzen. A couple extra points were missed, but overall Llarraza had 2 touchdowns on the day, one on a catch and one on a run. Rodriguez had a running TD and Dixon and Baculy both had receiving TD’s.


Jamaica Bulldogs 0, LI Knights 40

The 13U Long Island Knights have 12 and 13 year olds on their roster. They opened their season versus the Jamaica Bulldogs. Joseph Devita led the rushing attack, grinding out consistent yards on every carry. Dylan Tuthill scored the first points of the game with a short touchdown run. Josh Reid also contributed to the running game with two touchdowns on both of his carries. For the passing game Alex Salamone was 4 of 6 with 2 touchdown passes, one to Max McElhone for 35 yards and another to Luke Maurino for 20 yards. Maurino led the defense in tackles, as the Knights defense posted a shutout.



The Long Island Knights continue their tough schedule next week.