Longwood's Greene wins Zellner
It could have been the biggest play of Darius Greene's high school career, but Longwood's standout defensive tackle never got a chance to take part.
With Longwood and Floyd tied at 13-13 in the fourth quarter of a Suffolk I football semifinal last month, the Colonials' Stacey Bedell followed two blockers through the line and broke away for a winning 48-yard touchdown run.
Said Floyd coach Paul Longo, "We put in the play because it was away from Greene."
It was sound strategy. "He's a dominating defensive player," Longwood coach John Murphy said. "They designed a play to run away from him. I would, too. That's a compliment."
Suffolk's coaches paid Greene another compliment Monday when they voted him the 2011 Zellner Award as the county's best lineman. The presentation was made Monday night at the Suffolk Football Coaches Association dinner at the Hyatt Regency Wind Watch in Hauppauge. Teammate Omari Palmer was second in the voting and Deer Park's Aaron Thompson was third.
Greene, a 6-2, 275-pound two-way star, also started at guard and was credited with 27 pancake blocks in the Lions' run-oriented offense. On defense, he made 61 tackles, an impressive 17 for losses. He had five sacks and batted down three passes.
"He's so quick and powerful, with very good feet for a big kid and good speed," Murphy said. "He had the kind of motor where he'd run you down. He was a very quiet leader, one of those kids that leads by example."
Because Greene played alongside Palmer, who is bigger (6-3, 310 pounds), more outgoing and committed to attend Syracuse, Greene often was overshadowed on his own team.
"Omari stole the spotlight, and rightfully so, because of his size, his personality and the fact that he already had a scholarship offer coming into the season," Murphy said. "Darius was under the radar but drew a lot of respect from his opponents. They were two great players, and fortunately, we had them both."
Greene is considered a bit undersized for a major-college prospect, although Stony Brook, Buffalo and several Division II schools are showing interest.
"What kills him is that he's 'only' 6-foot-2," Murphy said. "If he was 6-3 or bigger, he'd have more offers."