Sept. 26, 2015 - Michael Alfano had shined as a wide receiver and cornerback for Smithtown West High School before his high school career ended prematurely just a week prior to the start of the 2015 season after fracturing his fibula in a Sept. 4 scrimmage.
But he has retained his captain status to support the team, and he still had one more memorable moment on the football field Saturday. He was named homecoming king, and was excited to receive that honor in the midst of a disappointing fall.
"It shows the great support I have from my classmates," said Alfano of the honor. "It's nice that something good happened."
Alfano's story was a theme, as he was one of three Smithtown West students enjoying their special homecoming celebration despite injuries.
Sophomore and junior varsity cheerleader Suzi Zdravkovic fractured a bone while running on Sept. 18, but managed to join her teammates in a wheelchair for thegame against Centereach.
Senior kickline member Nicole Kuper, who is on crutches for the next two weeks after injuring her knee, also took part in homecoming festivities, cheering on her teammates from the sidelines during their halftime performance.
"This is my senior year and I love being on this team so any chance I can come to be a part of it means a lot," said Kuper, who has been participating in kickline since seventh grade and is one of five seniors on a kickline team that placed third in nationals last year. '"It is interesting watching from the other side the team perform, but it's important to be here."
Kuper has attended every practice since being confined to crutches, but Saturday was the first time Zdravkovic was able to spend time with her squad. She is slated for surgery soon and is looking at a three- to four-month recovery period, but hopes to be back performing for part of basketball season and at next year's homecoming festivities.
"I wanted to come here for my team because I haven't seen them for a while because of being at home," said Zdravkovic, who has taken part in cheerleading for the last six years. "It was important to me."