Now that Jack Coan has played his final regular-season game, it’s time to see how the Sayville senior stacks up against the top Long Island quarterbacks of the past 30 years.
Coan shattered passing records that were thought to be unreachable. He now has an astounding Long Island-record 9,295 yards passing and 121 touchdown passes. He completed 15 of 23 passes for 167 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-7 win over Westhampton Saturday in a Suffolk III game.
There have been dramatic changes in the philosophy of the offense, transforming from power I and wishbone to the receiver-rich spread over three decades.
“The philosophy was to get more athletes on the field and make defenses cover them in space,” Sayville coach Rob Hoss said. “The evolution of the spread is a defensive coordinator’s nightmare. The philosophy of the spread is to force defensive players into one-on-one situations. And one wrong read or mistake leads to a big play.”
The run-n-shoot evolved into the spread offense and scoring is now at a breathtaking pace. Sayville’s 78-61 win over Lawrence in the Long Island Class III championship in 2011 was just a glimpse of what was to come. It’s become a keep-up-or-be-left-behind mantra for the coaches.
After the season, Coan will be moving on to a college career at Wisconsin, leaving him as Long Island’s top quarterback in the past 30 years. The list with years representing selections to the All-Long Island team.
1. JACK COAN
SAYVILLE, 2014-16 (All-Long Island years)
One of three players to be honored three times on the Newsday All-Long Island team. “He sees the field like a video game and processes the information so quickly and checks down into plays that will succeed,” Hoss said. “He recognizes the defense like no one else. The mental part of his game is most impressive, the way he thinks the game through. Sometimes the brains don’t translate on the field but with Jack it does.”
2. JOE CAPOBIANCO
Nicknamed Joey Cap, he was a two-time All-Long Island selection and a warrior of a quarterback. He emerged as a playmaker as a sophomore when he passed for a Long Island record 541 yards in a 78-61 loss to Sayville in the Long Island Class III title game in 2011. He led the Golden Tornadoes to back-to-back Class III titles in 2012 and 2013. He threw for 2,609 yards and 38 touchdowns as a junior to set the Long Island record for both standards as Lawrence averaged 48 points per game. He came back as a senior and fired 33 touchdown passes and threw for 353 yards and three scores in the Class III title game. Capobianco finished his career with 100 touchdown passes and 8,013 yards passing — both LI records at the time.
NOW: He played two years at Merrimack College and earned Northeast-10 All-Conference Rookie Team honors. He completed 174 of 289 passes for 1,999 yards with 13 passing touchdowns and one rushing TD in his freshman season. He passed for six touchdowns and 416 yards in a win over Pace. He is currently studying finance at Baruch College.
3. KEVIN CASSESE
He became Long Island’s first-ever three-time All-Long Island selection after a career in which he amassed 6,013 all-purpose yards, rushed for 36 touchdowns and threw for 22 scores. He guided the Warriors past Bethpage, 15-13, in the Long Island Class III title game in 1996. His breakaway speed and uncanny moves separated him from the competition. He earned the James LaBue Award presented to Suffolk’s top scholar-athlete and went on to play lacrosse on a full scholarship at Duke University.
NOW: One of the most decorated athletes in Duke history, he is a professional lacrosse player with the Philadelphia Barrage and in his ninth year as head coach of the Lehigh University men’s lacrosse team. He led the Mountain Hawks to back-to-back Patriot League Championships in 2012 and 2013, followed by a third straight appearance in the league title game in 2014.
4. STEVEN FERREIRA
He became Long Island’s all-time leader in passing yardage with 6,411 and touchdown passes with 73 after he led the Golden Flashes to a 12-0 record and the Long Island Class III championship in 2011. He earned All-Long Island after throwing for 2,443 yards and 29 touchdowns as a senior. Ferreira was a pure pocket passer who was a pro-style quarterback in a spread scheme. His skill set was made to fit the system and the results were outstanding. “He had the ability to see the field from a passing perspective that was just incredible,” Sayville coach Rob Hoss said. “He wasn’t a running threat and we still scored at will.”
NOW: Ferreira was enjoying a tremendous start to his senior season at SUNY-Cortland before suffering a broken ankle in Week 3. The Red Dragons were 2-0 when he was injured and lost five of the next six. As a junior, he led them to a 9-3 record and the Division III playoffs with 29 TD passes and 3,127 yards passing.
5. JOE SIDARAS
Nicknamed Joey Sunshine for his optimistic attitude and his long blond hair, he was a dynamic leader that guided Floyd to consecutive Long Island Class I championships in 2006 and 2007. The 6-3, 205-pounder was a lethal combo of run and pass. He finished his career with 2,796 yards passing and 40 touchdowns. He was 22-0 as a starter for the Colonials, something no quarterback has matched.
NOW: He played quarterback at Hofstra on a full scholarship until the school disbanded the football program. He went on to play tight end at Wagner College. He now works as a teacher assistant in the William Floyd School District and is an assistant football coach at the William Floyd Middle School.
6. MIKE PRAHALIS
He was the most prolific quarterback in Long Island history at the time, setting single-game records of 2,743 yards passing and 33 touchdown passes. He threw more TD passes in a single season than anyone before him had thrown in a career. He led Commack to the Long Island Class I title game by throwing 11 scoring passes in the Suffolk playoffs. He sent Long Island football into the new millennium thinking about throwing the football — the game was about to change. His records were at that time thought to never be challenged. But they eventually fell as the spread became the norm.
NOW: The 33-year-old father of two manages the family sign business in Deer Park. He oversees a staff of 35 and handles all commercial and national signage.
7. ISAIAH BARNES
The 6-4, 190-pounder saved his best performances for the postseason. He led the Red Devils past Floyd, 63-35, to claim the Long Island Class I title in 2011. He ran for six scores and passed for another in the championship game. “We fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter and then Isaiah just took the game over at Hofstra and it became his show,” Freeport coach Russ Cellan said. “He was incredibly smart and ran like a deer. But what really stayed with me, was how he stayed so loose, even in the most intense situations.” Barnes was the prototypical spread quarterback, a pure runner that was a complete nightmare for defensive units. He had 78 career touchdowns, 44 passing and 34 rushing.
NOW: He is in his last year of studying business at Princeton University. He’s a starting wide receiver, who had a career high and team-best 33 catches for 466 yards as a junior. On Saturday, he had seven catches for 170 yards, including a 95-yard touchdown in Princeton’s 56-7 win over Cornell. He leads the teams with 29 catches for 465 yards and two scores.
8. KEVIN HAVERBUSCH
Despite sub-freezing temperatures, heavy rain and wind, he managed to throw two touchdown passes to Georgia Tech-bound wide receiver Mike Sheridan to beat Longwood, 12-7, for the Long Island Class I crown in 1993. The All-Long Island selection was the do-it-all player for the Chiefs. He passed for 1,071 yards and 12 scores, ran for two touchdowns, kicked six field goals and converted 21 of 26 extra-point kicks. He went on to play baseball and football at Maryland and was drafted by Pittsburgh in his junior year. “Easily my most memorable high school experience was beating Longwood in like 20 degrees and throwing 20-pound footballs,” Haversbusch said. “Our coach told our ball boy we needed two dry balls all game. The ball boy heard ‘we need the same two balls all game’. It was pouring, sleeting and here I was throwing medicine balls in the second half. It’s so funny when I look back.”
NOW: The 40-year-old with 13 years of professional baseball experience now trains high school hitters and college athletes at his Hitter’s Club Academy in Farmingdale.
9. JAY FIEDLER
Fielder was a gifted athlete and according to Freeport coach Russ Cellan, “the original run-n-shoot quarterback.” Fiedler had multiple options off the snap based on the defensive alignment. He was an All-Long Island selection as a senior when he threw for 1,400 yards and 10 scores and ran for 13 touchdowns He had 4,400 yards passing and 38 touchdown passes in three years.
“He was in a class with Boomer Esiason and Vinny Testaverde,” former Oceanside coach Frank Luisi said. “It was not a simple offense and everyone had to be on the same page. He was ahead of his time.” The run-n-shoot offense morphed into the spread. Fielder joined Esiason and Testaverde in the NFL ranks, playing for Miami, Jacksonville, Minnesota and the Jets.
NOW: Fielder tore it up at Dartmouth and then enjoyed a 10-year NFL career. The 43-year-old now trains high school passers at Westbury’s Fundamental Sports Training and Farmingdale’s Academy Sports Complex. He also works with young players who attend his Brookwood Camps in Glen Spey, New York, and college players at renowned trainer Brian Martin’s Parabolic Performance facility in Fairfield, New Jersey.
10. ROB CALABRESE
EAST ISLIP, 2007
The two-time Boomer Esiason Award winner as Suffolk’s best quarterback earned All-Long Island honors in 2007. He led East Islip to the Long Island Class II title and an 11-0 record. He passed for 1,332 yards and 14 touchdowns and rushed for another 772 yards and eight scores. He had a rifle arm and was arguably the most physical quarterback of his decade. When he fled the pocket he delivered bruising hits on defensive backs. He finished his career with 3,992 yards and 34 touchdown passes. He’s the toughest quarterback on the list.
NOW: He was a standout quarterback at the University of Central Florida, where he threw for 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns before injuries cut his career short. He accepted a two-year graduate assistant job as a coach at UCF. He is now working as the assistant coach for running backs/special teams at Wagner.