Trevor Gayron of Farmingdale, center, and Dante Torres of St....

Trevor Gayron of Farmingdale, center, and Dante Torres of St. Anthony's, recipients of the inaugural Gregg Sarra Trophies for most outstanding Long Island defensive (Gayron) and offensive (Torres) players in 2022, pose for a portrait with Sarra, Newsday's high school sports editor, during the National Football Foundation Suffolk Chapter's annual awards breakfast at Marriott Melville Long Island on Sunday. Credit: James Escher

Dante Torres quarterbacked St. Anthony’s to a first Catholic state football championship last fall. Middle linebacker Trevor Gayron was a driving force in Farmingdale capturing the Long Island Class I championship. On Sunday, they became the first recipients of the newly minted Gregg Sarra Trophy as Long Island’s top offensive player and top defensive player at the Scholar Athlete Awards Brunch of the National Football Foundation’s Suffolk County chapter at the Marriott in Melville.

“This is a true honor to be recognized for my season,” said Torres, who will attend Harvard in the fall. “And being the first Sarra Trophy winner is special. He puts in so much for the guys in high school. There is nothing better than waking up on the weekend and opening Newsday and seeing everything that’s been written about [football]. He puts a lot of effort into making us feel special, and you have to appreciate that.”

Gayron, who will attend the United States Naval Academy in the fall, said: “To win an award that’s named for someone who has done so much to make Long Island football what it is? It’s just humbling. I am honored and grateful.”

The NFF Suffolk County chapter created the award this year and named it for Sarra as a tribute to his nearly four decades of excellence and dedication in chronicling high school sports on Long Island.

“I’m grateful to the NFF for recognizing my life’s work and naming the Long Island Player of the Year trophies after me. It’s flattering and a testament to a life dedicated to local sports,” said Sarra, Newsday’s high school sports editor. “I am blessed to have developed lifelong relationships with so many players, coaches and administrators over a lifetime of great experiences. They have allowed me to share their incredible stories with our Long Island community.”

Just before presenting the awards to Torres and Gayron, Sarra thanked his family for their years of support and then asked all the parents at the event to stand and be applauded for all they do by the athletes, coaches and officials on hand.

Torres threw for 3,269 yards and 32 touchdowns and rushed for 13 more scores for the Friars. Gayron amassed 104 tackles. including 11 for loss, in the Dalers’ championship run.

Golden Eleven Award recipients pose for a group portrait during...

Golden Eleven Award recipients pose for a group portrait during the National Football Foundation Suffolk Chapter's annual awards breakfast at Marriott Melville Long Island on Sunday. Credit: James Escher

“I was in shock when I learned I’d get this award,” Gayron said. “But it’s cool to be doing it representing my family and my teammates and my community. So many people contributed to winning the championship.”

“I am proud of the award. Long Island football is underrated,” Torres said. “I’ve been all around the country, have competed with people in every state — like Florida, Texas, California [and] Georgia — and I think we’re very underrated. We’re not known as a football state, but we have guys that can compete and I see it every day.”

The NFF Suffolk Chapter also announced Bayport-Blue Point’s Brady Clark and Northport’s Andrew Miller as the county’s top scholar-athletes and Kellenberg’s Dylan Page as the Island’s top Catholic scholar-athlete. Each player received the Conrad Metzger Award for his achievement.

This fall Miller will be enrolled at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Clark is headed to St. John’s on a baseball scholarship. Page is going to Cornell.

Brady Clark of Bayport-Blue Point, left, and Andrew Miller of...

Brady Clark of Bayport-Blue Point, left, and Andrew Miller of Northport, recipients of the Conrad Metzger 2022 Top Scholar Athlete Award, pose for a portrait during the National Football Foundation Suffolk Chapter's annual awards breakfast at Marriott Melville Long Island on Sunday. Credit: James Escher

“The recognition is great because athletes can be underappreciated for their work in the classroom,” Page said. “Athletes work as hard as everyone else in school but get seen more for what they do on the field . . . Awards like this help show we’re also students who work really hard in class and appreciate our grades.”

“I loved being recognized for this award,” Miller said. “Playing sports is a lot of fun, but schoolwork is the most important thing along with family.”

The other members of the NFF Suffolk Chapter Golden Eleven, selected for performance in the classroom: Central Islip’s Ryan Antwi, Ward Melville’s Andrew Belli, Glenn’s Mario Bento, Bellport’s Alexander Brigadir, Smithtown East’s George Donohue, North Babylon’s Nathaniel Griffith, Shoreham-Wading River’s Ryan Herr, West Islip’s Patrick Keenan, Eastport-South Manor’s Patrick Murphy and Sayville’s Benjamin Sands.

“We’re recognizing excellence on the field and in the classroom, and the most special thing for me is watching the parents when their child gets an award,” NFF Suffolk County chapter president Leonard Genova said. “It gives me goose bumps.”

Sayville’s Reade Sands received the Joe Cipp Award as Suffolk’s top coach and Marc Negrin received the Norman D. Carter Award as the top official.

Bonsu tops in Nassau. Baldwin’s Kwasi Bonsu was selected as the top scholar-athlete by the National Football Foundation Nassau County chapter. He received the Jay Fiedler Award for the accomplishment at the Nassau County Football Coaches Association dinner in December.

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