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Cirrone a tireless Thunderbird

Connetquot linebacker Joe Cirrone reads the offense during

Connetquot linebacker Joe Cirrone reads the offense during a multi-team varsity football scrimmage featuring Connetquot vs. Ward Melville at Bay Shore High School. (Sept. 1, 2011) Photo Credit: James Escher

There’s not much finesse to Joe Cirrone’s game. He’s one of those bottom-of-the-pile football players – the one who’s usually pushing the pile.

On offense, he’s a hard-charging fullback for Connetquot. On defense, he’s a hard-hitting linebacker. He rarely takes a play off. “The two best things about my game are that I like to block and I like to run to the ball,” Cirrone said, taking a rare break from the action of Thursday night’s 12-team Breast Cancer Awareness scrimmage at Bay Shore.

The Thunderbirds will need him to do a lot of both. Coach Mike Hansen has a lot of talented but unproven juniors, and will rely on the senior Cirrone to lead the way.

“He’s a tough, hard-nosed kid,” Hansen said. “He’ll be a big leader for us. He played a lot of linebacker last year next to [Hansen Award winner Mike] Pellegrino. Now he’ll be our middle linebacker.”

Cirrone said he’s ready for the heavy workload. “I worked hard in the offseason and I work hard in practice,” he said. “I just love being on the field.”

At Thursday’s scrimmage, he was particularly noticeable blowing up running plays in the opponent’s backfield.

Asked whether he likes offense or defense better, a smile broke through the facemask of his helmet as Cirrone said without hesitation, “Definitely, I like defense better. Read the play and react.”

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