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Gregg Sarra's Elite 11 quarterbacks on Long Island

QB Charlie McKee holding trophy. Oceanside High School

QB Charlie McKee holding trophy. Oceanside High School football player Charlie McKee as he receives the Newsday Thorp Award from Gregg Sarra. Friday October 8, 2021 Credit: Howard Simmons

1. CHARLIE MCKEE, OCEANSIDE, SR.

The four-year captain earned the Thorp Award as Nassau’s top player in the spring season of 2021. He is on the verge of setting the record for passing yards in a career. He has 7,757 yards passing and is 256 yards shy of Joe Capobianco’s record of 8,013. Capobianco of Lawrence threw for 100 touchdowns and McKee has 77. The 6-1, 205-pounder, who is committed to Stony Brook University, has completed 80 of 104 passes for 1,011 yards and 12 touchdowns and rushed for four scores this season.

"Charlie has been the standard at QB the past four seasons in Nassau County," Oceanside coach Rob Blount said. "He has led the county in passing yards and touchdowns in his first three seasons. He's a generational talent that we are enjoying the last ride with."

2. RYAN HEIDRICH, MASSAPEQUA, SR.

Heidrich was an excellent study behind All-Long Island quarterback John Giller as Massapequa rolled to the spring championship. The junior patiently waited for his opportunity this fall and has been fabulous.

Heidrich has emerged as a pleasant surprise through the midway point of the Nassau Conference I schedule. He has Massapequa atop the conference at 5-0, including a 26-21 win over top challenger Oceanside, in which the first-year starter outdueled Charlie McKee in an instant classic Oct. 2.

The 6-4, 195-pound Heidrich has rushed for 519 yards on 60 carries and seven scores and completed 62 of 96 passes for 1,335 yards and 12 touchdowns.

"Ryan is a very smart player who makes great decisions in crucial situations," Massapequa coach Kevin Shippos said. "He is a dual threat quarterback. He’s playing like a seasoned veteran."

3. NICK BOTTONI, WHITMAN, SR.

Bottoni was close to leading Whitman to its first championship in 37 years before losing an overtime heartbreaker to Floyd this spring. Bottoni vowed to lead the Wildcats past Floyd this fall and did so with a 27-0 victory of Floyd on the road. He threw for 214 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for another score in that game. Whitman is off to a 5-0 start and the 6-1, 185-pound Bottoni has completed 58 of 87 passes for 904 yards and 10 touchdowns. He’s rushed for two more.

"Nick can lead us where we want to go," Whitman coach Robin Rosa said. "But it’s one week at a time and not looking too far ahead. He’s been fantastic."

4. DANTE TORRES, ST. ANTHONY’S, JR.

The 6-3, 195-pound Torres was given the reins to one of Long Island’s top programs. He has responded by leading the Friars to a 3-1 record, including a big win over Cardinal Hayes in the AAA Division of the NYCHSFL. He has completed 74 of 118 passes for 1,092 yards and eight scores and three interceptions. He’s also rushed for 187 yards and three touchdowns.

"Dante is one of the top dual-threat QBs in New York and is a Division I prospect," St. Anthony’s coach Joe Minucci said.

5. BRADY CLARK, BAYPORT-BLUE POINT, JR.

The Phantoms were the preseason top seed for the first time in school history. One of the main components to that designation was the expectations of Clark. He has spread the field with a strong arm and accuracy with the deep ball, stretching the field to the tune of a 64% completion ratio and 11 touchdowns. Clark has completed 43 of 67 passes for 873 yards.

The 6-2, 185-pound team captain has also shown a knack for the run, carrying 31 times for 260 yards and seven scores. Bayport is 4-1, suffering a last-second loss to Mount Sinai. "This is his first year as our starting quarterback and he’s really found his groove," Bayport-Blue Point coach Mike Zafonte said. "He’s shown pose in the pocket and made sound decisions." Clark has committed to pitch at St. John’s University.

6. LUKE SCHMITT, GARDEN CITY, SR.

The statistical numbers will not overwhelm. The leadership, command of the offense, and the total number of wins with Schmitt behind center are impressive -- he’s won 24 of 25 starts. The 6-2, 200-pound Schmitt has won two Nassau Conference II titles in his sophomore and junior years. Schmitt played one half of all five games this season as Garden City has opened leads of 20-0, 20-0, 43-0, 35-0, 28-0 and continues to dominate the conference. He has rushed for one score and thrown for eight scores. Oh, Garden City is 5-0 again.

"He a complete game manager," Garden City coach Dave Ettinger said. "He does an amazing job of leading our offense."

7. DEREK BURRELL, EAST ISLIP, SR.

There is an excitement to Burrell every time he touches the ball. That’s why coach Sal J. Ciampi has his best athlete at quarterback. Burrell has East Islip at 5-0 with some electric running and precision passing. He’s carried 55 times for 560 yards and seven touchdowns. He’s completed 21 of 32 passes for 363 yards and six scores with no interceptions.

"We want the ball in his hands because he is so dangerous in space," Ciampi said. "He’s very tough to tackle in the open field. He makes good decisions and sees the field well."

8. NICK GIARDINO, CLARKE, SR.

One of Long Island’s top baseball recruits has been unstoppable on the gridiron. He’s rushed 77 times for 584 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Rams, and has completed 27 of 46 passes for 332 yards and two scores. His 916 total yards has Clarke off to a 4-2 start, averaging 27 points per game. "He is the focal point of a [4-2] team and the best player on the field every week," said Clarke coach Kevin O’Hagan. He’s fast, deceptive, and best of all a smart player."

9. TRAVIS SHAVER, PLAINEDGE, SR.

Perhaps what’s most dynamic about Shaver is his athleticism. He is a physical run-first quarterback. He has 33 carries for 330 yards, an average of 10 yards per rush and eight scores. His hard running belies his ability to be an effective passer. Shaver has completed 43 of 55 passes for 667 yards and four scores.

The 6-0, 187-pounder has played in 12 of 20 quarters as Plainedge has blown out five straight opponents. "Travis has been around varsity football since he was three years old and has a football IQ in which he understands the game better than most," said Plainedge coach Rob Shaver, his father. "He has worked with former NFL quarterback Jay Fielder."

10. JACK HALPIN, BELLPORT, SR.

The Clippers are off to a 4-1 start. The lone loss came at Northport when Halpin missed the entire second half of a 17-14 outcome. He's the difference maker for Bellport. The 6-0, 190-pounder has rushed 34 times for 223 yards and six scores. He's also completed 18 of 34 passes for 529 yards and five touchdowns. He accounted for four touchdowns, including three on the ground, in a 47-14 win over Lindenhurst. His 1-yard TD run with 15 seconds left gave the Clippers a 30-28 comeback win over North Babylon.

"Jack is a dynamic athlete," Bellport coach Jamie Fabian said. "He's shown great ability to extend plays and make something out of nothing."

11. NICK HONERKAMP, MEPHAM, SR.

His signature performance came when he accounted for seven first-half touchdowns in a 63-30 win over Glen Cove. Honerkamp has balanced the passing game with the Pirates running attack. He's completed 34 of 56 passes for 668 yards and nine scores. He's rushed 68 times for 566 yards and 11 touchdowns but threw five interceptions.

"He is an elusive runner that can and will run physically," Mepham coach Anthony Cracco said. "He has the ability to beat teams in many ways."

Records, statistics through Saturday

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