If you stood close enough to the field while Huntington was on offense, it was possible to hear one of the best weapons wielded by a quarterback in Suffolk County.
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The ball hissed through the air as Ben Kocis hit receivers with crisp throws this season. The faster the ball spun from Kocis, the louder the hissing sound -- and it usually meant more completions, too.
"It's a pretty cool thing, now that you mentioned it,'' Kocis said with a laugh Monday afternoon. "It's kind of hard to describe the sound, but the ball does make a certain noise when I release it and when it's cutting through the air.''
His big-time arm, quick release and precise passing led Huntington to the Suffolk III championship, and Monday night Kocis earned the Boomer Award, awarded annually by the Suffolk County Football Coaches Association to the county's most outstanding quarterback. It is named for Boomer Esiason, the former NFL quarterback who graduated from East Islip in 1979. Babylon's Nick Santorelli was a finalist for the award.
"We say Ben throws lasers because of how hard he throws, how fast it reaches the receiver and that hissing sound the ball makes as it carries through the air,'' coach Steve Muller said. "Ben was a key reason why we were Suffolk County champions.''
The 6-2, 190-pound senior completed 116 of 228 passes for 1,687 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions this season. He ran for 535 yards and eight TDs on 82 carries. Kocis, who said he tries to emulate the Patriots' Tom Brady, was "given free rein to run the offense,'' according to Muller. And he accomplished goals this season that went beyond individual statistics.
"My goals were to get to a championship game, be a better quarterback in the pocket and just try to be the ultimate team leader,'' Kocis said.
Muller said he would place a check mark next to each objective.
"I've just tried to stay calm and relaxed,'' Kocis said. "After working at it all the time, I realized I could become pretty good, and now I'm here. It sounds kind of surreal.''