Oxbow QB Gains Valuable Experience at Development Camp
Tristan Longmoore, an Oxbow rising Sophomore who recently returned from the USA National Football Team Development Camp in Towson, Md. Longmoore, 15, is shown here at his home in Bradford, Vt., on July 30, 2014. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »
Bradford, Vt. — For someone too young for a driver’s licence, Tristan Longmoore sure knows how to get around.
Longmoore, 15, recently returned from Towson, Md., where he was one of about 200 athletes invited to play in the USA National Football Development Games at Towson University’s Unitas Stadium. A sophomore-to-be and quarterback at Oxbow Union High, it’s Longmoore’s second trip to an invitation-only, national football program in the last seven months.
In January, he was one of three Olympians who earned a spot in the National Underclassmen Combine in San Antonio.
Like that wintertime trip to Texas, the experience in Maryland exposed Longmoore to coaches and scouts eager to discover hidden talent. This trip also involved competition, with Longmoore’s White team defeating team Blue on Saturday, 17-6.
Rotating with three other quarterbacks, Longmoore saw plenty of action. His best play was a 15-yard run from scrimmage, which complemented a number of short pass completions and — perhaps most importantly — no turnovers.
“There were a lot of fumbles in the game, but I wasn’t on the field for any of them,” the 5-foot-10, 165-pounder said. “I was trading off series (with the other QBs), one series at a time. We ran the ball a lot, but it was a good game.”
Longmoore is eligible for the roster of the U.S. national team, which in February will host Canada in the International Bowl in Dallas. The Bradford resident said he’ll find out at the end of October if he made the cut.
Just making it to Towson required an invitation for Longmoore, who tried out in May in North Bellirica, Mass., one of 16 tryout locations in the U.S. that drew hundreds of hopefuls.
Towson was one of four sites for the National Development Games, joining locations in Ohio, Texas and Los Angeles.
Longmoore’s White team was coached by Logan Williams, an assistant at NCAA Division II Shephard University in West Virginia.
“It was just great to play with such top-notch kids from all over the U.S.,” Longmoore said. “The coaches were all college coaches who knew the game really well. Everybody who was there was ready to be there, ready to go.”
It was hard not to be while playing for Williams, who spent 10 years in the U.S. Navy before joining the Rams’ coaching staff.
“He was always yelling, but it was good because he kept us pumped up and in the zone. He was a good coach,” Longmoore said.
Longmoore also worked closely with Tiffin (Ohio) University quarterbacks coach Adam Neugebauer, who as a player broke 10 school records at West Virgina Wesleyan College and led D-II in five offensive categories in 2011, including yards, completions and touchdowns.
“I learned a lot from him. We did a lot of footwork drills and went over a lot about where to keep the ball (in relation to your) shoulders and things like that,” Longmoore said. “I definitely feel like I left there a better quarterback than I was before I went.”
Longmoore felt short-changed on the Olympians last year, when he finished 11-for-25 for 340 yards and four touchdowns and ran four times for nine yards.
Backing up then-senior Quinten Mahikoa, Longmoore threw just 13 passes during the regular season before taking over for an injured Mahikoa in the O’s playoff loss at eventual Vermont Division III champion Woodstock. Longmoore finished 7-for-12 for 165 yards and two scores against the Wasps.
“I just don’t think I saw as much time as I deserved (last fall),” said Longmoore, who started every Oxbow jayvee game. “I worked really hard and every time I was put in, I excelled.”
Longmoore enters the season as the favorite for the starting quarterback position, though he’ll have to do it with a new coach. Mark Palmieri, the only coach in the team’s seven-year varsity history, recently departed for D-II Lyndon Institute.
According to Oxbow Athletic Director Hank Van Orman, Palmieri’s replacement will be named Tuesday pending school board approval.
Palmieri would be surprised if Longmoore isn’t under center for the majority of the O’s snaps this fall.
“Hunter Page is going to be a senior and he’s a natural leader, but he’s also a good running back and Tristan is the real deal at QB,” Palmieri said in a phone interview. “My son, Tony, was a really good quarterback at St. Johnsbury, and after he found out I was leaving Oxbow he said, ‘Dad, how can you leave when you were going to have the best quarterback you’ve ever had?’
“And believe me, it was hard to leave that team because I truly think they’re going to be better than ever over the next couple of years. You have to remember that Tristan is only a sophomore.”
Jared Pendak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3306.