Midway through this season, Babylon quarterback Nick Santorelli said he wanted to look back at his high school football experience and remember nothing but winning. He wanted to reflect on all the good times with great teammates and caring coaches. He wanted no regrets.
Babylon completed its second straight 12-0 season with a stirring 27-26 come-from-behind win over Roosevelt in the Long Island Class IV championship game on Nov. 29 at Hofstra. Santorelli had a hand in all four Babylon touchdowns. He threw for three scores and ran for another as the Panthers erased a 14-point deficit in the third quarter. And one of the biggest moments in his career came with 2:34 left when he kicked the extra-point that broke the tie at 26.
"We showed the character and the resilience of a true champion," Babylon coach Rick Punzone said. "I told them the night before the game they would be tested and that everything they'd accomplished to that point would be on the line. The winning streak, the opportunity to produce consecutive back-to-back 12 win seasons that had never been done before, and ultimately they'd have to come together and meet the challenge before them. They were a fantastic group of players. And they were led by a very special player in Santorelli."
Santorelli's whirlwind season didn't end with Babylon's second straight championship and sixth overall.
"My parents and I had two goals this fall," Santorelli said. "One was to win the LIC and the other was to have everything settled with West Point."
The night before the Homecoming game against Mt. Sinai a large envelope arrived at the Santorelli home.
"It was my appointment to West Point that comes from the President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense -- it was so nice," said Santorelli, who scored a 1,970 on the SAT, and will play lacrosse at West Point. "It was a relief after all the years of hard work. So everything fell into place."
The accolades continued to roll in for Babylon. Defensive back Jake Carlock was honored with Suffolk's Rob Burnett Award, given to the best defensive player. He had 12 returns for touchdowns and 18 interceptions over two years. And the team earned the Rutgers Trophy, given to Suffolk's top team, for the second year in a row.
So what was the most memorable play of the year?
"It was called UConn88," Santorelli said. "Eric Schweitzer took the direct snap, handed off to Jake Carlock on the reverse and he passed it to me wide open in the end zone for the two-point conversion in the Roosevelt game. I was so open I thought I would drop it."
Santorelli was spot on all year.