Newsday goes deep with Long Island high school football.
Islip’s Joe Sabbatino is a throw-back
This wouldn’t have happened two years ago. At Thursday night’s 12-team Breast Cancer Awareness scrimmage at Bay Shore, Islip quarterback Joe Sabbatino faded in the pocket and completed a deep pass against Longwood.
“I used to just be a runner. To be honest I couldn’t throw as a sophomore,” said Sabbatino, a key senior for Islip this season. “I couldn’t read defenses. I’m much smarter now. I’m a complete player.”
He was switched to tailback as a sophomore, but with the graduation of last year’s star quarterback, Jeffrey Craig, Sabbatino is back running the offense. “It’s a pride thing. I just want to be the best and I want us to be the best,” Sabbatino said. “I want to prove that it wasn’t a one-year thing.”
He was referring to Islip’s run to the 2010 Suffolk Division III championship game, where it lost a thriller to Sayville. “We have that hunger to get back,” Sabbatino said.
He’s also the leader of the defense, an aggressive linebacker who had six sacks last year. At Thursday’s scrimmage, he did something rarely seen among Long Island quarterbacks – he caused a fumble with a jarring hit on the opposing quarterback. “As a quarterback, I know what it feels like to get hit,” Sabbatino said. “At least I can get somebody back.”
“He’s one of the best big-play linebackers in the county," Islip coach Jamie Lynch said. "He’s very good coming off the corner. He’s a very heady player. Offensively, he’s a big strong runner who’s really improved his throwing.”