Garden City wins the Long Island Class II Championship football...

Garden City wins the Long Island Class II Championship football game with a score of 28-0 at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium on Friday, November 25, 2022. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

Garden City has done nothing but win since the start of the abbreviated 2021 spring football season.

The Trojans have won 30 consecutive games dating back to Mar. 13, 2021. The latest, a 28-0 win over Bellport on Nov. 25, secured their second straight Long Island Class II title.

Stevie Finnell stole the show at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium with 346 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 17 carries. But Garden City found itself in some trouble, turning the ball over four times.

“We probably haven’t had anything close to four turnovers all year, but the defense was lights-out from the start,” Garden City coach Dave Ettinger said. “The defense really bailed the offense out and then Stevie made some runs.”

“We turned the ball over too many times, but other than that this was a perfect end to the season,” Finnell said. “To lose four turnovers and still post a shutout showed our resiliency.”

Bellport entered the game averaging 32.5 points per game, but Garden City held its high-powered offense to just 137 total yards.

“I think it was our best defensive performance all year,” Finnell said. “We were flying to the ball. Whether they went inside or outside, we were all over it.”

Known for racking up lopsided wins, Garden City’s offense deservedly gets a lot of attention for averaging 38 points per game. But the Trojans’ defense allowed an astonishing 6 points per game this season after a few subpar performances early on.

“We let up too many points early in the season to Long Beach and South Side,” said Sawyer Olson, who had 2.5 sacks and 11 total tackles in the LI title game. “But we got better throughout the season and here we are, shutting out the best Class II team in Suffolk County.”

Garden City shut out five teams in the regular season, before earning posting its sixth against Bellport to finish the season 12-0.

Garden City has now won 10 Long Island titles, including five of the last six. The Trojans have also won seven straight Nassau county titles and 27 total.

“I like to say I’m lucky,” Ettinger said. “Our staff is incredible. I’m the guy that gets the credit, but there are a lot of guys that are putting in the work to make me look good. We’ve always worked as a program and we all work really well together.”

The culture that Ettinger and his staff have instilled resonates with their players and is the reason for Garden City’s sustained success.

“I wouldn’t want a different group to do this with at all,” senior captain RJ Votruba said. “We lost some big names last year, but it didn’t matter because we all bought in to the Garden City culture.”

Road to the Long Island Championship

Nassau II quarterfinal - Beat Calhoun, 56-7

Nassau II semifinal - Beat South Side, 47-6

Nassau II final - Beat Mepham, 38-7

Long Island final - Beat Bellport, 28-0

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months