Mepham High School flag football player Sofia LaSpina reflects on her both of her football seasons, tackle and flag, as she was named Newsday's flag football player of the year. Newsday TV's Carissa Kellman reports. Credit: Newsday

Newsday Player of the Year: Sofia LaSpina, Bellmore-Merrick District, QB/DB, Jr.

A leader on both sides of the ball, LaSpina was the starting quarterback for the Chargers. In 11 games she completed 261 passes for 2,565 yards and 41 TDs. Her decision-making and ability to extend plays helped lengthen drives in key moments in championship games. She led the Bellmore-Merrick District team to the first Long Island championship at the New York Jets training facility in Florham Park, New Jersey. LaSpina, who made history in the fall when she became the first female to score a touchdown in a Long Island varsity football game, was a force on defense as well, registering 47 flag pulls, including three for a loss, and two interceptions. Her interception late in the second half clinched the 30-20 win over Whitman for the LI title.

Suffolk Player of the Year: Kate Hoffman, Whitman, QB, Sr.

Whitman's Kate Hoffman on July 1, 2022.

Whitman's Kate Hoffman on July 1, 2022. Credit: Dawn McCormick

She led Whitman's aerial attack with 35 passing touchdowns while playing only the first half of most games. The prime-time performer always stepped it up when the team needed it most, including five touchdown passes in the Suffolk title game. Hoffman had three TD passes in the LI championship.

Laine DeNatale, Locust Valley, QB/RB/WR, Sr.

DeNatale used her breakaway speed to power the Locust Valley offense from any spot on the field. She could throw the ball 30 yards in the air, had strong hands as a receiver and scored 15 total touchdowns.

Dominique DiOrio, Massapequa, WR, Jr.

She scored 15 touchdowns this spring. At 5-10, DiOrio’s size and great hands made her tough to cover down the field. Her speed enabled her to beat defenders on the run or outrace defensive backs on her way to a catch.

Clockwise, from left: Laine DeNatale of Locust Valley, Dominique DiOrio...

Clockwise, from left: Laine DeNatale of Locust Valley, Dominique DiOrio of Massapequa, Lara Glasser of Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK, Gabby Hanellin of Bellmore-Merrick.

Lara Glasser, Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK, WR/S, Fr.

She had 30 receptions for 600 yards and seven touchdowns and added 600 yards rushing and eight more scores. She led the defense with nine interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns and 30 flag pulls. Glasser also added two passing touchdowns for a total of 19 scores.

Gabby Hanellin, Bellmore-Merrick District, Calhoun, WR/SS, Sr.

Hanellin was a two-way player whose contributions on both sides of the ball helped win a Long Island championship. She led the team with 665 receiving yards and 13 TDs, including the winning touchdowns in both the Nassau title game and the LIC. She scored at least one TD in 10 of 11 games. And she added 41 flag pulls, seven pass breakups, and four interceptions.

Clockwise, from top left: Keziah Job, Ashley Magee, Emma Parente and Anna Morrongiello.

Clockwise, from top left: Keziah Job, Ashley Magee, Emma Parente and Anna Morrongiello. Credit: Dawn McCormick

Keziah Job, Lynbrook, LB/P, Sr.

She led the defense with six sacks and six more flag pulls for loss. She was also one of Long Island’s leading punters.

Ashley Magee, Whitman, WR/Safety, Sr.

Magee was the complete player. She did it all on offense for the Wildcats with 12 receiving touchdowns and five rushing scores. She also had 15 interceptions and 50 flag pulls. The LIU lacrosse commit had a nose for the end zone, scoring the first touchdown in program history.

Anna Morrongiello, Sachem East, DB, Sr.

She was the lockdown cornerback in coverage for the Sachem defense. And she was highly skilled in flag pulls, finishing with 87 this season.

Emma Parente, Sachem East, RB, Jr. 

She helped lead her team to the inaugural Suffolk final with 15 touchdowns this season. She was an elusive runner in the open field and very hard to flag.

Clockwise, from top left: Gianna Paul, Maddie Ryan, Luciana Setteducate, Tyla Vuotto

Clockwise, from top left: Gianna Paul, Maddie Ryan, Luciana Setteducate, Tyla Vuotto Credit: Noah K. Murray, Dawn McCormick

Gianna Paul, Walt Whitman, RB/Rover, Sr.

Paul led the Wildcats with 20 total touchdowns. The Alabama soccer commit set the tone early in the season with a 79-yard rushing score on opening night. She capped a championship season with a one-handed TD in Whitman’s Suffolk title win.

Maddie Ryan, Bellmore-Merrick District, Calhoun, DE/LB, Jr.

The junior from Calhoun was a dominant defensive player who caused havoc from the linebacker and defensive end positions. Ryan led the Chargers with 60 flag pulls, including 32 for a loss. She also had five sacks. Her consistent pressure off the edge caused errant throws and turnovers. She also scored five TDs.

Luciana Setteducate, Bellmore-Merrick District, Mepham, RB, Sr.

Setteducate was an elusive runner who made defenders miss her in the open field. She had 1,159 all-purpose yards, 630 receiving and 529 rushing. She totaled 11 touchdowns and compiled more than 100 yards in eight of 11 games.

Tyla Vuotto, Lynbrook, RB/DB/PR, Jr.

She was a force on offense with 10 rushing touchdowns and three receiving scores. The speedy Vuotto also displayed her versatility by returning three punts and two interceptions for touchdowns.

Newsday Coach of the Year: Anthony Cracco, Bellmore-Merrick District

He led the Chargers to a 10-0-1 record in the inaugural season of girls flag football. They earned the Long Island championship with a 30-20 win over Whitman. "It was an amazing experience working with and teaching these young athletes the game of flag football,” Cracco said. “We had a cohesive defense, outstanding offense and a team that came together quickly throughout the season for an exciting championship run."


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