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Football: Ex-Monarchs find new home in Riverhead

Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School’s closing this past June didn’t mean the end of the playing careers for a number of former Monarchs. Three of them didn’t have to go far to find new football homes.

Seniors Austin Beyrodt and Liam Egan and junior Ethan Aube all say they have made the adjustment, trading in their Mercy green and gold for Riverhead blue.

“The school is different,” said Egan, who the Blue Waves have used at tight end, fullback and middle linebacker. “Football is football.”

Of course, going from a small Suffolk County Division IV team to a larger Division II team is a change, but the threesome maintain there isn’t a dramatic difference in the caliber of play.

“The competition is definitely a lot more physical, but aside from that — they’re a little bit faster, a little bit stronger — but mentality[-wise], most of the kids have the same idea of what they’re doing,” said Beyrodt, a center, linebacker and long snapper.

Perhaps the most striking difference is the attendance at home games. “Just more people,” said Egan.

While Beyrodt and Egan were both with the Blue Waves in training camp, Aube took a detour, first attending St. Anthony’s, where he didn’t play, before recently transferring to Riverhead. Riverhead’s 41-0 home loss to Centereach Saturday was his second game with the team.

“I knew I wanted to play football; it was just a matter of where,” said Aube, a quarterback/middle linebacker. “It’s my hometown and graduating here, it’s going to be fun. Playing with kids from your hometown is really nice.”

All three live in Riverhead. Aube and Egan said they knew, with Mercy’s closure, that they wanted to keep playing football. As for Beyrodt, he had to give the matter some thought. “I had second thoughts about it coming into the season,” he said, “that I wasn’t going to play originally, but guys on this team that I met outside of Mercy and Riverhead encouraged me to play, and now I’m here.”

Meanwhile, former Monarchs are playing and coaching at other schools. Will Razzano is at Holy Trinity. Christian Doroski and Evan Kappenberg are both at St. Anthony’s. Gabe Schrage is at Longwood. Former Mercy coach Jeff Doroski is coaching Westhampton Beach’s junior varsity team and his former assistant, Phil Lombardi, is coaching at Harborfields.

The ex-Monarchs still keep in touch. “I talk to them every day,” said Aube.

Egan said he knew he would play football after leaving Mercy. Riverhead was the obvious place.

At Riverhead, the three have more freedom than at Mercy, which had a dress code and certain restrictions. “I like it,” said Egan, sounding fully adapted to Riverhead life.

Egan, in particular, has made a smooth transition to the field. He has caught 14 catches for 106 yards, including a touchdown, as well as catching a pair of passes for two-point conversions. Defensively, he has 20 tackles, one for a loss, and a fumble recovery. He also blocked an extra-point attempt by Bellport’s Christian Moreno on Oct. 6.

In an interview after a practice last week, Aube said he has plenty of nice memories from his time at Mercy, but “I’m just happy to be here.”

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Photo caption: Riverhead’s Liam Egan (second from right) blocking an extra-point attempt by Bellport’s Christian Moreno (31) on Oct. 6. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk file)