Vincent Cajano builds off Duel success

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Vincent Cajano III is a young quarterback on the move. His rapid rise up started at the Duel in July and has continued to surge during his current season. Cajano, a sixth grader at Dyker Heights Intermediate School 201, is the starting quarterback for the Staten Island Seminoles in New York and his team is 4-0 to open the season. “We all get along and pull together,” Cajano said. “I’m really happy with the way I’ve been throwing the ball, and our team has been able to throw the ball and run and move the ball. It’s been a lot of fun.”

High-powered offense

Competing in the rugged Staten Island Boys Football League, which was formed in 1959, Cajano is not only playing against tougher competition this season, he’s taken his game to a higher level. Through four games, the Seminoles are averaging almost 37 points per game. Cajano is 12-for-20 passing with 3 touchdowns. He has also thrown for a PAT and run for two more. “I just try to work as hard as I can and go out and help my team,” he said. “I try to get better game in all areas of the game.” When he started playing flag football, Cajano was a quarterback. But when he moved to tackle football, he was a tight end and linebacker last year for the Staten Island Pop Warner Lions. When the Lions’ regular QB couldn’t make a game, Cajano stepped in and knew he was at the right position. “I really like playing quarterback,” he said. “I like to throw, I like to run and I just really like running the overall offense.” While he is already having a spectacular season, Cajano is focued on taking his game to an even higher level. “I’m working hard to improve my drops and improve my footwork,” he said. “I’m trying to be the best in every possible area playing quarterback.” Being a straight-A student has also helped Cajano become a better quarterback. “I’m able to understand what’s going on with the offense and recognize what the defense is doing,” he said.

Duel winner

Winning the Duel really helped Cajano roll into his season with a full head of steam. “It was my second Duel and I knew it was going to be a challenge,” he said. “I just wanted to do my best.” Cajano did just that, placing first among incoming sixth graders. “It really helped my confidence,” he said. “It showed that if I do my best and work my hardest, good things can happen. It showed that I could go there and compete.” Competing and winning against top-flight competition from around the country is no easy feat, but Cajano made it happen. “I was a little surprised,” he said. “In the back of my head, I thought I had a chance. I didn’t doubt that I could compete. Doing so well at the Duel, it made me feel that I could be a strong leader for my team and help us win games.”

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Scot Gregor is an award-winning sportswriter for the Chicago Daily Herald. In addition to writing about Big 10 and Notre Dame football, Gregor has also covered the White Sox, Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls and college basketball. He grew up in Pittsburgh and watched the Steelers rise to prominence in the 1970s. Gregor has a B.S. degree in Journalism from Ohio University

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