Connetquot's Drew Guttieri looks to pass in the third quarter during...

Connetquot's Drew Guttieri looks to pass in the third quarter during a Suffolk II football game against host West Islip on Oct. 4. Credit: Bob Sorensen

Plagued by a sprained right knee in 2018, Drew Guttieri was unable to run with the sort of burst with which he was accustomed.

This year, with his knee at full strength, the Connetquot senior found that next gear and earned the recognition as the premier quarterback in Suffolk County.

“It’s an honor,” Guttieri said about earning the Boomer Esiason Award, given to the top quarterback in the county, at the Suffolk County High School Football Coaches Association banquet Monday night at the Hyatt Regency in Hauppauge. “There are a lot of great quarterbacks in the county. I just have the honor to be represented as one of them.”

Guttieri passed for 1,875 yards and 18 touchdowns and ran for 502 yards and seven touchdowns on 98 carries for Connetquot this season.

“Me being fully healthy was huge,” said Guttieri, who verbally committed to play at Stony Brook next year. “When I got hurt it really limited what our offense could do. We were very one-dimensional. Me being able to run this year made our offense a lot more explosive and versatile.”

“He does everything well,” Connetquot coach Mike Hansen said. “He’s athletic, can run the ball, move around in the pocket and create more time. He has a big arm and makes good decisions. He’s special.”

Guttieri credited his receivers, such as Cole Bunicci, for their role in his prolific season.

“My receivers made it happen,” Guttieri said. “I put the ball out there, but they gave me those extra yards. They gave me that extra production that I can’t account for myself.”

Guttieri’s breakout performance came in a 48-21 homecoming victory over North Babylon on Oct. 18, when he was 12-for-14 passing for 201 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed six times for 94 yards and two TDs.

“It was the spot throws that he really improved on,” Hansen said. “Throwing the ball before guys made their breaks and getting it to where they’ll be. That’s next-level quarterback stuff.”

Hansen said filling the void that Guttieri leaves behind at Connetquot is “not possible.”

“I’m going to miss it a lot,” Guttieri said. “It’s always going to have a special place in my heart.”

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