It’s no secret that Holy Cross H.S., Flushing, and Christ the King R.H.S., Middle Village, have built up an impressive sports rivalry over the years.
On the football field, the Knights and Royals have not matched up in a CHSFL game for quite some time, but that does not take away from these two storied programs and the rivalry that exists.
But up north at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) in New Haven, Conn., a few players that were once rivals in high school are now bonding as teammates for the Owls.
In the past two years, two players from Holy Cross – sophomore cornerback Chavez Rose and freshman defensive tackle Oladimeji Bamishile – and two players from Christ the King – redshirt freshman defensive tackle Justin Reid and freshman offensive tackle Terrence Brown – have signed on with SCSU, a Division II football program and member of the Northeast 10 Conference.
“We always recruit that league (CHSFL),” said SCSU head football coach Rick Cavanaugh, who entered his 29th season as head coach this fall. “It’s competitive; there are good athletes there. Those kids are academically prepared for college. We know when we get a kid out of one of those Catholic schools that they should succeed in college. I just think it’s one of the better conferences in the northeast really.”
The two freshmen coming in this season said their transition was made much easier by their former high school teammates.
“It’s always good to have somebody there when you don’t really know what’s going on,” said Bamishile, a 2012 Tablet football all-star and a graduate of Incarnation Elementary School, Queens Village.
Bamishile and Rose are both defensive players, so Rose always helps his former Holy Cross teammate with any necessary adjustments. Rose also guided Bamishile around campus on the latter’s official visit before he signed with the Owls.
“He (Bamishile) basically asked me all the questions that he had about the program, so I was able to help him out a lot with that,” said Rose, who transferred to Holy Cross as a junior from Pennsylvania. “I definitely try to keep an eye on him. Coming into a new place and a new program, sometimes it may be hard to adjust. I try to assist him in that as much as I can.”
Meanwhile, Reid said he was very excited once he found out that Brown, his former teammate at Christ the King, would be joining him at SCSU.
“Looking at it from the school as a whole, it’s nice to see that Christ the King is sending guys to college to play athletics,” said Reid, a 2011 Tablet football all-star who attended elementary school at St. Martin of Tours, Bushwick. “When I found out it was Terrence, I was really proud of him.”
Just like Rose, Reid showed his former high school teammate around campus and helped in his eventual decision.
“He (Reid) told me that the program is tough but that it’s a good football school,” said Brown, a 2012 Tablet football all-star from Corona. “He gave me a few tips and tricks of what to do and what not to do.”
These four players – especially Brown and Bamishile who live in the same dormitory on campus – have all become good friends off the field. Still, they are quick to remind their former rivals of which high school football team would win if the teams were to play.
“We push each others’ buttons every now and then,” Reid said. “All of us CHSFL guys, we just push each others’ buttons.”
But of course, that’s all in good fun, as these players now go to battle on the gridiron as teammates.
“That’s the great thing about the game of football,” Cavanaugh said. “You can be a rival in high school, and you can be teammates in college. And who knows? You guys can wind up being best men at each others’ weddings.”
While Rose and Bamishile will treasure their memories as Knights just as much as Reid and Brown will not soon forget their time with the Royals, these four football players are now united as Owls at SCSU.