Whitman quarterback Nicholas Bottoni opened the fall season with three first quarter touchdown passes to three different receivers. And the Wildcats went on to a 42-0 thrashing of Longwood.
Bottoni would finish with 230 yards passing and a rushing touchdown in the rout. It was a sign of things to come in Suffolk’s Division I.
Whitman had arrived and Bottoni was the leader of the orchestra.
The Wildcats would run the table in Suffolk, capping an undefeated season with a 42-7 win over two-time defending champion Floyd. It was the first Suffolk title in 37 years for Whitman and the school’s first appearance in the Long Island Class I championship game.
The Wildcats would lose in heartbreaking fashion to Massapequa in the Class I championship game at Hofstra University when freshman Alex Chillemi drilled a 20-yard field goal as time expired for a breathtaking 38-35 win.
"We lost a heartbreaker in the LIC," said Whitman coach Robin Rosa. "We played our hearts out. We had a phenomenal season. Nothing can take away what we accomplished. And Nick was our leader."
Bottoni completed 135 of 205 passes for 2,380 yards and 28 touchdowns with four interceptions.
For his accomplishments Bottoni earned the Boomer Esiason Award as Suffolk’s top quarterback. Jack Halpin of Bellport and Derek Burrell of East Islip were finalists.
Bottoni was at his best in the big games.
From his first touchdown pass of the season, an 87-yarder to Tyriek Mays-McKoy, to his final toss, a 72-yard scoring strike to Brandon Ivy, to set up the extra-point kick that tied the score at 35 in the LIC, Bottoni was golden.
He passed for more than 200 yards in eight games and for over 300 yards once. And he passed for three touchdowns in a game seven times.
"He matured into a fantastic leader," Rosa said. "He was able to navigate an extremely talented offense and deliver a championship."