Lawrence's Joe Capobianco has the talent to back up his words
Gregg SarraGregg Sarra
Gregg Sarra is Newsday's high school sports columnist and writer.
He's brash. He's confident. And he's good, real good.
There is a lot you can say about Joe Capobianco, Lawrence's record-breaking quarterback. And for years to come, they'll talk about all the passing records he'll own and how he got there.
But the one thing that has always been there is that he was extremely talented. No matter what conference he played in, no matter whom he played against, Capobianco was always consistent and successful.
Forget his height -- he's 5-11 -- and that the FBS colleges aren't knocking his door down with offers.
This is high school football. And on this level, he'll be forever known as one of the very best Long Island has produced. He may never make the NFL like other great Long Island quarterbacks -- Ed Danowski, Boomer Esiason, Vinny Testaverde and Bob Avellini, to name a few. But he carved his own legacy leading Lawrence to consecutive Class III title game appearances and is heavily favored to return for a third -- a swan song, if you will.
This is a kid to be savored -- a quarterback to relish and enjoy before his time is up.
Capobianco draws opinions and crowds. He stirs conversation and banter.
Even when the stage expanded and the pressure heightened, this was a kid who stood up to the best of the best Long Island had to offer in his classification. This is a quarterback who as a sophomore predicted he would throw for 400 yards against Sayville in the Long Island Class III championship game.
The detractors thought he was immature and arrogant to say such a foolish thing. But he was only 15 years old when he made the statement, so forgive him.
As it turned out, he was inaccurate with his words, not his throws. The prediction only added to his legend. He passed for a Long Island-record 540 yards and seven touchdowns in the highest-scoring game in state history. And his team lost, 78-61.
What stood out for me was his resilience as he escaped the vaunted Sayville pass rush over and over and kept coming back with his Golden Tornadoes.
And then he returned to win a Long Island Class III title last year with a 21-20 victory over Sayville and lead Lawrence to the Rutgers Cup as the top team in Nassau County.
So what was left to do?
"I want to win another Long Island title and keep the Rutgers Cup at Lawrence," Capobianco said. "The records aren't important but they will fall, and they will fall because my teammates will help me achieve them as we work towards our goal of the Long Island title."
The kid has matured. He has grown into a fine young man. He speaks about "us'' and "we'' and not about "I.'' He is about team goals, not personal glory.
Capobianco set the Long Island record for career passing touchdowns Saturday in a 53-7 wipeout of Glen Cove. It was just another day at the office for Capobianco. He completed 9 of 14 passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns. His third TD came on a perfect throw to Jordan Fredericks for 27 yards in the third quarter. That gave him 74 TD passes, surpassing the 73 by Sayville's Steven Ferreira (2009-11).
Lawrence improved to 2-0 and owns Long Island's current longest winning streak at 14.
Capobianco still is chasing the career record for passing yards. He has 5,468 and sits in third place behind Ferreira (6,407) and Holy Trinity's Chris Laviano (5,833).
That record should fall, too, but all that matters to Capobianco is another title.