When Robbie Healy was asked to be one of East Meadow's captains before this season, the senior politely declined, saying he was not a rah-rah type of leader.
So the player of few words but many action-packed moves led the 2011 Jets the only way he knew how: By scoring from anywhere on the field in any way possible, and doing it more often than any other Nassau football player before him.
"Robbie is a genius with the football," East Meadow coach Vinny Mascia said. "He's got eyes in the back of his head. He's got incredible lateral movement. He sees things; makes little cuts. His lower body strength is unbeatable."
Healy, the 5-9, 165-pound football genius who plays wingback and defensive back, was the smart choice of voters Wednesday night as he was named the 2011 Thorp Award winner at the 46th Gridiron Banquet at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury. Newsday has presented the award since 1942 to the outstanding high school football player in Nassau. This year's other finalists were two-way backs Ralph Caccavale of Plainedge and Mark Ellis of Garden City.
Healy set Nassau records for most touchdowns in a season with 38 and most points in a season with 236. Even his coach missed some of his best moves. "He's come out of the pile where I thought the play was over and all of a sudden he's free," Mascia said. "I'm looking down, thinking about the next play to call and I hear in my headset, 'How the heck did he get away!' The play is never over with him."
Healy rushed for 1,790 yards and 27 touchdowns. But he also was a legitimate deep threat with nine receiving TDs, including plays of 63 and 53 in an absolutely riveting 34-33 victory over Freeport in the Nassau I final. Healy tipped away a pass in the end zone with 2:17 left that preserved the victory.
"He's an impact player on both sides of the football," Mascia said. "He has an inner confidence."
And a tough outer shell. "This kid is on the field every single snap," Mascia said of the Jets' third-leading tackler and dangerous kick returner. "He's banging every single play."
Healy got banged up against Floyd in last Sunday's Class I title game, injuring his shoulder while diving hard to the turf at Stony Brook's LaValle Stadium trying to tackle Stacey Bedell on an 80-yard touchdown jaunt. But he returned to run for a two-point conversion that tied the score at 47. This time, though, the Jets lost a thriller, 54-47.
Typically, Healy was stellar, with 171 yards rushing and a TD, a 31-yard TD reception and a 51-yard kickoff return. "When this kid has the ball, good things really happen," said Mascia, who moved Healy from wide receiver to wingback before this season. "We don't throw it enough in our offense, so a kid like that wouldn't get enough touches. We had to get him the ball any way we could -- whether we snapped it to him, pitched it to him or threw it to him."
Healy, in his quietly effective style, had a magic touch that allowed East Meadow to set another Nassau record with 544 points for the season. He made his coach look like a genius.