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Freeport edges Garden City for Rutgers Cup

Close call for best team in Nassau County, with both squads going 12-0 and winning Long Island Championships.

Freeport teammates celebrate after their 20-19 win over

Freeport teammates celebrate after their 20-19 win over Floyd in the Class I Long Island Championship at Shuart Stadium in Hempstead on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. Photo Credit: James Escher

The Freeport and Garden City football programs were in a class unto themselves this year.

Freeport won the Long Island Class I title and had a perfect 12-0 record. Garden City's team captured its third straight Long Island Class II crown and also finished 12-0.

Both teams rolled through their respective conferences posting double-digit wins in every game prior to the LIC. Freeport's starters never played in the fourth quarter of any game until they were needed in a wild 20-19 win over Floyd to capture the Class I title at Hofstra University. It was the school's sixth Long Island crown.

Garden City had a similar run to the Class II title, steamrolling everyone, before a commanding 19-0 win over Lindenhurst, the defending Class I champion, which had dropped down in classification this year. It was the Trojans' eighth overall title.

The Trojans also became the second team in Nassau history to win three straight Long Island titles and extended their winning streak to a Nassau County record 36 games.

The pure domination of both programs made it extremely difficult for voters to choose this year's Rutgers Cup winner.

By virtue of 39 first-place votes and a total of 141 points, Freeport was awarded the coveted Rutgers Cup on Wednesday night at the Nassau County Football Coaches Association banquet at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury.

"This could have gone any number of ways," said Freeport coach Russ Cellan. "More than one team deserved to win the honor. I wouldn't have been surprised if either of us won. I'm just proud of our guys and our coaches for what we've accomplished."

Garden City finished with 12 first-place votes and 114 points but came up short in its quest to grab the Rutgers Cup honor for a third consecutive year.

It was the fifth time the Trojans turned in a 12-0 record.

Freeport, behind the play of four of Newsday's All-LI first team selections, Justin Lescouflair, Gerard Smikle, Terrance Edmond and Jordan Jackson, earned the distinction for the first time since 2010 and the 11th time overall.

"I'm not going to say this is our best team ever, that's not fair to all the great teams that have played at Freeport over the years," said Cellan in his 32nd year. "But I am going to say that no team has been better. We were challenged in the Class I title game and our guys responded positively to win the game. We had the top two teams in New York State and it was a battle. It was a wonderful year."

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