Eastport South Manor senior Patrick Minogue accumulated 35 sacks in his past two seasons on the football field—18 in 2014, 17 in 2013—so it was no surprise that he was chosen to participate in the 20th annual Empire Challenge, which pits Long Island All-Stars against New York City All-Stars, on June 23 at Hofstra University.
Long Island defeated New York City, 34-27, for its fifth consecutive win. Minogue, who is the second Shark to make the team, after Joe Pesce in 2014, made four tackles and saw a fair amount of playing time, on both defense and special teams.
Each team consisted of 50 players; a selection committee of 10 coaches, four administrators and a game coordinator created each roster for the Empire Challenge, which was created by former NFL quarterback and Long Island native Boomer Esiason back in 1996.
ESM head coach Bill Ashton said he thought Minogue was certainly deserving of the honor. “Defensively, he’s very tough to block. And with the number of sacks he’s had, it’s kind of hard to leave a kid like that off the roster,” he said. “He was Second Team All-State. Being an offensive coach, he did a million things for us. He made 38 catches, scored touchdowns, he punted. He did everything for us.
“He’s a great all-around kid, a great all-around athlete,” Ashton added. “He was a captain, and the kids listened to him.”
Minogue said the Empire Challenge was an experience he’ll never forget. After getting lunch provided by Hurricane Wings, the players arrived at Hofstra University a few hours before game time to see a large tailgate session going on in the parking lot.
“It was cool. All of us playing have never gone to a game where there was a tailgate,” he said. “We went into the locker room, and our jerseys were hanging up, and our helmets. It was crazy—they really spoiled us.
“It was unreal. I’m probably not going to play in a game like that again,” Minogue added. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”
Minogue graduated from ESM on Friday night, and had his graduation party on Saturday. He’ll be attending Ithaca College in the fall, where he’ll be playing on the football team as punter and weak side outside linebacker. Ashton said if it weren’t for his smaller frame—Minogue was an undersized defensive lineman in high school at 6 feet, 180 pounds—he could have gone anywhere. Still, Ashton thinks his former player will do well at the college level.
“Maybe [Ithaca] will start him punting right away and work him into a defensive spot,” he said. “He has a motor that just doesn’t stop. All the schools loved him, but even in the Empire Challenge you can see that there are kids who were much bigger than he was. But with his speed—he’s explosive off the line—he’ll do well.”