Every morning when Anthony Catapano woke up, the first thing he’d see was a trophy on his dresser — a trophy that didn’t belong to him.
“I get out of my bed and it’s right there,” the Carey lineman said. “It motivated me.”
Wednesday night, he was awarded a trophy of his own. Catapano was named the recipient of the Martone Award as Nassau County’s top lineman.
“It will be a great feeling to bring it back to my family,” Catapano said of the award. “It pays off for all the hard work I put in.”
As for that trophy on his dresser, that belonged to his older brother Ray, who won the Thorpe Award in 2013 as Nassau’s most outstanding player. Before Ray moved on to Southern Connecticut State University, the two brothers shared a bedroom. Ray’s trophy remained on the dresser, serving as a constant source of fuel for Anthony to work as hard as his brother did.
“That household now has a Thorpe Award and a Martone Award,” Carey coach Mike Stanley said. “I’d imagine that’s pretty unique.”
As is Catapano’s combination of size and athleticism. At 6-1 and 303 pounds, Catapano became one of Long Island’s elite run blockers by using his agility and footwork to gain positioning, and then his strength to overpower opponents.
“I put a lot of extra time in on speed, lateral quickness, footwork, technique, and obviously the weight room,” said Catapano, who also plays basketball and baseball at Carey.
Stanley said that on any rushing play Carey ran the last three years, Catapano’s block could be used on a highlight film.
“His ability to move and his athleticism for such a big guy really separated him from the rest of the group,” Stanley said. “When it came down to getting key yards, whether short yardage or goal line, we were going to go behind number 66. It was a no-brainer for us.”
By doing so, Catapano helped Carey go undefeated his first two seasons while capturing two Long Island championships. This season, Carey advanced to the semifinals, where they fell to MacArthur. “He was instrumental in every single one of those wins,” Stanley said.
Catapano, who will play at Stony Brook University, became the first Carey football player to twice be named first-team All-Long Island. And Wednesday night, he earned a trophy. So, where’s he going to put it?
“On the dresser, right next to my brother’s,” Catapano said. “That’s exactly where it’s going.”