As an eighth-grader, Steven Hoynacky wanted so much to be part of the Newfield varsity football team that he volunteered to be the team manager and ball boy. That was during the fall of 2011, when the team won its first Long Island championship.
Hoynacky had a far different role for Newfield’s second Long Island Class II championship, accomplished this autumn with a 12-0 record and victory over MacArthur on the day after Thanksgiving. He was a starting tight end and defensive end, but more importantly, according to coach Joe Piccininni, was Hoynacky’s “relentless pursuit of protecting the team and top-notch leadership.”
For displaying those qualities, Hoynacky was awarded the second annual Tom Cutinella Memorial Leadership Award, named in honor of the former Shoreham-Wading River player who died in an on-field collision in 2014.
Hoynacky, like Cutinella, not only was a quality football player but excelled in the areas of leadership, character and academics, part of the criteria for the award. He is treasurer of the school’s National Honor Society and maintains a 92 GPA. Hoynacky was presented his trophy by Cutinella’s parents, Frank and Kelli, on Monday night at the annual Suffolk County football dinner.
“Steven carries with him all that it means to be a leader,” Piccininni said. “He is the first one to arrive at practice and is always the last one to leave. He makes sure our locker room is in order before leaving school for the day.”
That thoroughness and attention to detail matched Hoynacky’s habits on the field. In addition to his regular offensive and defensive snaps, he was a standout on special teams.
“It was quite seldom that you ever saw him come off the field,” Piccininni said. “He was a true leader, completely selfless.”