Bayport-Blue Point quarterback Brady Clark receives the Hansen Award, presented by Newsday to Suffolk's most outstanding football player, during the county's dinner on Monday in Hauppauge. Credit: Dawn McCormick

Some believe that championships are won in the offseason. Bayport-Blue Point’s three-sport star Brady Clark would attest to that thinking.

He put in yeoman’s work all year round in three sports. The hot summer months is where Clark really got after his training.. 

His weekends were spent pitching in high profile tournaments up and down the east coast.

His midweek workouts were spent on the gridiron with quarterback coach Rob Hoss, perfecting his footwork, timing, and a different kind of throwing motion.

The effort and attention to detail helped Clark become the best version of himself and lead Bayport-Blue Point to its finest season in the 56-year history of football at the school.

Clark passed for two scores and ran for two more as Bayport-Blue captured the Long Island Class IV title with a 35-7 victory over North Shore. It was Bayport-Blue Point’s first appearance in the LIC and punctuated an 11-0 record, the first perfect season in school history.

“Brady was a magician with the football that always made great decisions,” Bayport-Blue Point coach Mike Zafonte said. “The key to winning in our offense is having an intelligent quarterback. He sees things we don’t see sometimes. He had a great season.”

For his accomplishments, Clark was named the 63rd recipient of Newsday’s coveted Carl A. Hansen Award, presented to Suffolk’s most outstanding football player at the Suffolk County Football Coaches Association dinner Monday at the Hyatt Regency Long Island in Hauppauge.

The other finalists were Hauppauge’s halfback/linebacker JoJo Provenzano, Bellport’s halfback/defensive back Donte Phillips and Lindenhurst’s wide receiver/defensive back Chris Carson.

Clark, who set single-season school records with 27 touchdown passes and 1,585 passing yards, is the first Bayport-Blue Point player to win the prestigious Hansen Award. He added six rushing TDs, and threw just one interception. He is only the second player from Suffolk Division IV to take home the trophy.

“I’m in this position because of all the hard work put in by my coaches and teammates,” said Clark, who accepted a scholarship to pitch at St. John's University. “I’m extremely honored to win this award. And I wouldn’t be here without my parents who helped me develop as a player by taking me to all the workouts and camps.”

Clark also earned the Boomer Award as Suffolk’s top quarterback. The other finalists were Shane Longin of Harborfields, LaDuke Harris of Floyd and Brayden Stahl of Smithtown West.

 “Our coaches created opportunities for us to be successful with great game plans,” Clark said. “And our O-line was such a smart group of guys. They gave me unbelievable protection to make the plays. They would slide on time and pick up blitzers and do all the things that make a passing game work.”

Clark was only sacked twice in 11 games. He also rushed 70 times for 600 yards.

“He had impeccable timing and knew when to leave the pocket or sit and be patient,” said Jim Giattino, Bayport-Blue Point’s offensive coordinator. “He had such calmness and poise. I loved working with him because he picked things up and understood what we were doing.”

Giattino changed the mentality of the offense. The Phantoms were much more explosive, pass oriented and aggressive when the coach came over for Clark’s junior year. That coaching style suited Clark.

He opened the season by throwing for a school record five touchdowns in the first half of a 48-6 win over Mount Sinai. He completed 9 of 13 passes for 210 yards and rushed 10 times for 143 yards and a score.

“Brady was never too high, never too low,” Giattino said. “His demeanor was perfect for the quarterback position. He’s a cerebral player with a fiery work ethic.”

And he was much more than a team captain and a quarterback.

“Brady was a hitting machine in middle school, and we initially brought him to the varsity as a defensive player in his sophomore year,” Zafonte said. “We started him immediately at outside linebacker.”

At the age of 11 years old, Clark’s football career could have gone one of two ways. He’s happy it went the way it did.

Clark, playing for high school coaches Chris Varley and Tom Druckenmiller on the Bayport PAL travel team, experienced a life-changing moment.

Bayport was playing Bellport. Phillips, the fellow Hansen finalist, hit him so hard Clark wasn’t sure if he wanted to play anymore.

“It was a really big hit,” Clark said, laughing. “I was only 11 and somehow survived it. I realized this wasn’t a sport where you run around the field and just have fun, it’s serious business and winning is fun.”

Clark stood in front of the podium Monday night next to the kid that changed his mindset.

He thanked Phillips for the life-changing moment.

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