Zen Fuiaxis played his first organized tackle football game during the COVID-19-shorted season as a sophomore at Long Island City High School in Queens, N.Y.
But the lack of structed football playing time did not prevent the senior quarterback from working tirelessly to earn the opportunity to play at the next level. Fuiaxis yesterday verbally committed to Division III SUNY Maritime College Football program in Throggs Neck, Bronx, where he will eventually study mechanical engineering. Maritime will hold a roster spot for him in the fall.
“I was going back and forth, but after a few weeks, I made the decision to go there,” Fuiaxis enthusiastically said. “I feel Maritime was most interested in me. As soon as the coach told me I would get a chance to compete at quarterback, I knew I wanted to go there. Plus, they have the academics I want.”
Head coach Joseph Giardina sang the praises of Fuiaxis, whom Giardina said will be hard pressed to replace next season.
“I am super excited for Zen and the Fuiaxis family. Over the last two seasons, I’ve been able to watch Zen grow and mature as a student, as an athlete and as a remarkable young man,” Giardina gushed. “Zen is a natural leader who will succeed at the next level. Aside from his work ethic, his best attribute would be his Football IQ. All season and off-season, Zen and I were bouncing ideas and schemes off of each other. I trusted him so much he was able to call his own audibles at the line. Zen’s character will be missed in the locker room and on the field. He will be spoken about for years to come here at LIC. Coach Mickey Rehing at Maritime got a good one.”
The Astoria native enjoyed a solid year, completing 21 of 57 passes for 513 yards and five touchdowns while rushing for 85 yards on 13 carries with two scores.
Additionally, Fuiaxis helped LIC post a 3-4 record after moving up to the competitive PSAL A Conference, where several New York City high school football fans and teams alike did not expect them to win many games.
“I consider this past season a success, considering no one expected anything from us,” he said.
Fuiaxis received inspiration to follow his dream of playing football on the colligate ranks from a former teammate, Cherinoh Kaba, who played at D III Morrisville this past campaign. Now, he hopes to serve as motivation for future Bulldogs who want to play at the next level.
“One of our linemen got recruited to play at Morrisville, and that gave me the confidence to play in college,” Fuiaxis said. “I hope I can be an inspiration to these other guys on LIC’s football team, to make them want to work harder for it.”
Next, Fuiaxis will prepare to suit up for LIC’s lacrosse squad while conditioning himself to be the best student-athlete possible when he gets to college. The nerve-racking decision of picking a college is over and he can now concentrate on being a teenager and graduating from high school.
“I’m just glad I’m going to Maritime,” Fuiaxis said with relief in his voice. “I don’t have to worry about it (anymore).”
Maritime posted a 3-7 record and went 2-4 in Eastern College Football Conference (ECFC) in the 2022 campaign.
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— Jerry Del Priore
Photos: Aubrey @delgotthosephotos on Instagram.