In the News

Schwartz: Local Standouts To Battle Wednesday In Annual Empire Challenge High School Football Game


By Peter Schwartz

The same thing happens every year, as my family and I settle into our seats just before the pregame ceremonies. The teams are introduced and a large American flag covers the field before the national anthem. Since we started taking him to this game a few years ago, my son Bradley will always lean over to my wife and I and say, “Someday, I’m going to play in this game!”

I expect the same Wednesday night at Hofstra University, when we attend the 22nd annual Empire Challenge, a football game between high school seniors from Long Island and New York City. The Boomer Esiason Foundation will donate proceeds from the event to support local high schools that need money for uniforms, helmets and other equipment such as tackling dummies.

The game also brings attention to a subject that is also near and dear to Esiason’s heart — cystic fibrosis. The former NFL star and Long Island native started his foundation after his son Gunnar was diagnosed with the disease at a young age. Gunnar would go on to play football at Friends Academy and then actually played in the 2009 Empire Challenge sporting his dad’s No. 7.