Tiger alumni return for Empire Challenge Game

As much as it is about the Long Island and New York City senior all stars that play the charity football game at Hofstra University to raise money for the Boomer Esiason Foundation to treat cystic fibrosis, it’s also an opportunity for former participants to visit with old teammates.

For this 2015 Empire Challenge, former Fort Hamilton High School all star and current New York Jet defensive back Jaiquawn Jarrett made a field appearance to support the New York City all star team in a bid to win the game after five straight loses to Long Island since 2010.

“It’s something that every senior looks forward to playing,” stated Jarrett, who led Fort Hamilton to back-to-back championships in 2005-2006.

Joining Jarrett on the field to root on his alma mater was his former quarterback teammate Jeff Legree who earned the 2008 Empire Challenge’s MVP Award. According to Fort Hamilton Assistant Coach Reggie Wilson, Legree stated while he was in the eighth grade that one day he would win the Empire Challenge for the New York City squad.

Subsequently, Legree made good on his bold prediction, leading the city’s team to a 21-20 win with MVP honors in 2008, when the New York City all stars used to dominate.

Legree, who was touted as “best quarterback ever” by then Head Coach Vince Laino, had spent the past year playing football abroad in Spain. This year, Legree returned to the United States to play arena football for the Reading Raptors and was named the league’s MVP after winning the MIFL Arena Football championship.

Appearing for Fort Hamilton in their last game as high school seniors as all stars were running back Michael Brooks, and linemen Bradley Burrell, Alfredo Lopez and Nick Johnson.

Led by the game’s MVP, Smithtown East High School and Yale-bound quarterback John Daniggelis, the Long Island all stars powered over the New York City all stars 34-26 in their sixth year of straight dominance.

For the New York City all stars, led by PSAL championship coach Shawn O’Connor of Lincoln High, Poly Prep’s Rutgers-bound Chris Parker took home the Player of the Game Award for the losing team.

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