West Rolls to 31-6 Victory in Sunshine Football As Hun’s Apuzzi, PHS Star Beamer Spark Offense
IN GOOD HANDS: Hun School star Luke Apuzzi gathers in a pass for the West team in the Sunshine Football Classic all star game last Thursday. Williams College-bound receiver Apuzzi caught two touchdown passes from PHS quarterback David Beamer to help the West to a 31-6 victory. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
Luke Apuzzi sensed that the West squad possessed the firepower to light up the scoreboard at the Sunshine Football Classic all-star game last Thursday evening.
The team boasted star quarterbacks David Beamer of Princeton High and Malik Thompson of WW/P-N, hard-charging running backs Joe Immordino of Hopewell Valley and Rory Helstrom of PHS along with Hun star receiver Apuzzi.
“I have played in the prep school league and these are guys that I have heard about all year,” said Apuzzi.
“We had a great bunch of guys and we were going to get after them on offense.”
Apuzzi got on the same page with Beamer during the team’s practice sessions.
“All week we were having a great connection and I just felt it coming into this game,” said Apuzzi.
“I have heard about Dave all year. I have known him for a long time. I grew up with him and I have known he is a great quarterback. I came out there with him and we connected.”
The combination of Beamer to Apuzzi proved pivotal as the West rolled to a 31-6 win at the The College of New Jersey. Beamer competed 16-of-18 passes for 178 yards for two touchdowns, both caught by Apuzzi. Beamer also rushed for two TDs while Apuzzi ended up with three receptions in the game.
Apuzzi was not surprised that Beamer emerged as the star of the game.
“He accounted for four touchdowns tonight, you can’t say much more than that,” said Apuzzi, referring to Beamer.
“It just shows you how accurate he was, how on point he was, and how much he meant to this team. He has done it all year and he just continued to do what he has been doing.”
The first touchdown of the night for the West came when Apuzzi gathered in a Beamer aerial and raced 32 yards down the sideline for a score.
“We worked on that play a lot of the time this whole week,” said Apuzzi, recalling the score which helped put the West ahead 10-6.
“It was the only play I was in at a three-point stance at tight end. I ran a flag route and he put it exactly where it was supposed to be thrown. I had to make a move on a guy but the ball placement was terrific.”
With seconds remaining in the first half, Apuzzi came up with another score as Beamer lofted a ball to him in the corner of the end zone for a three-yard TD pass.
“All week, he and I were working on that route so in the huddle, I told Dave, look at me,” said Apuzzi, who is heading to Williams College, where he will be playing for its football program. “He trusted me and I trusted him and it worked out.”
Beamer, for his part, credited Apuzzi for stepping up. “Luke is a great player, he had to play tight end because we didn’t have a tight end for a while,” said Beamer.
“He was able to come in and fill that role and that was a big piece in the scheme. He was open a lot so I got him the ball.”
The West offensive scheme proved to be a good fit for Beamer. “This offense was great, everything that coach (Rob) Radice was trying to do, I was on the same page,” said Beamer, who found PHS teammate Helstrom for a 43-yard pass play in the third quarter which helped set up the West’s fourth touchdown of the game.
“It was great meshing with all the guys and scheming the whole thing together. Everybody on this team made plays, there were some throws that weren’t in the right spot and we had receivers go get it and keep that percentage up.
All those guys on the field are great and that is why they are all stars. They made plays by themselves.”
For Beamer, who is heading to Wheaton College in Illinois, making plays against all stars was an ideal prep for the start of his college football career.
“It has been nice to get a live look at a live defense,” said Beamer. “This is stuff I wouldn’t normally get this time of the year and I would be going to camp kind of cold. This helps me sort of ramp up that part of my game.”
In Apuzzi’s view, starring in the game was a good dress rehearsal for what he will be facing at the next level.
“The opportunity to come out here and show what the prep schools can do was a fun time,” said Apuzzi, who will be heading to Williams in late August for preseason camp.
“It was bonding with a new group of guys. I feel like it is going to be a similar situation going up to college. I am going to have to work hard to earn the respect of others and do my best to get on the field and show what I can do.”