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Bay Shore’s Valentin: Heart of the defense

Bay Shore linebacker Josh Valentin reads the offense

Bay Shore linebacker Josh Valentin reads the offense during a multi-team varsity football scrimmage pitting his team against Deer Park at Bay Shore High School. (Sept. 1, 2011) Photo Credit: James Escher

It was only fitting that the host school for Thursday night’s 12-team Breast Cancer Awareness scrimmage, Bay Shore, had one of the showcase players.

Josh Valentin, only a junior, was all over the field making tackles from his outside linebacker position. “Go to the ball first, that’s what I love to do,” said Valentin, 6-4, 250, who was in on 56 tackles last season and was an all-league selection in Suffolk Division I.

He’ll roam far and wide to chase down a quarterback or running back, but Valentin doesn’t want to go too far from home when he plays college football. “I want to stay in the Northeast,” he said.

Already Valentin has drawn interest from Big East schools such as Syracuse and Connecticut and that attention will heighten if he has a big junior year.

Bay Shore coach Jim Giattino, whose wife, Debbie, is a breast cancer survivor and the inspiration for this three-year-old event, expects exactly that.

“He’s really aggressive and plays with a lot of heart,” Giattino said. “From a coach’s standpoint, he’s a great listener. He’s one of the top players in the county. He has tremendous numbers in the weight room – he dead lifts over 500 pounds and bench-presses over 300.”

Two-hundred-pound running backs better watch out. “Stop the run first and go to the ball,” is how Valentin described his football philosophy.

Bay Shore, right on the playoff bubble as a No. 8 seed, plays with the big boys in deep and talented Suffolk Division I. Valentin welcomes the challenge. “Knowing we have that good competition makes me work even harder,” he said.

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