The Rutgers Trophy took on special meaning this year in Sayville. The school administration kicked off the season by recognizing the 50th anniversary of Sayville’s first Rutgers Trophy team in 1972.
The year that started with a celebration ended in the same manner.
Sayville steamrolled its way to the Long Island Class III championship with an impressive 33-7 win over previously undefeated Plainedge. The Golden Flashes finished with a perfect 12-0 record and punctuated the season by knocking off the two-time defending champions from Plainedge and halting the Red Devils' 23-game winning streak.
Junior quarterback Jake Tripptree returned in heroic fashion from a brutal shoulder injury suffered in the Suffolk Division III title win over Westhampton to throw for two touchdowns and lead the Golden Flashes to victory. Super sophomore halfback Kyle Messina added two touchdown runs and Luke Hansen opened the game with a 94-yard kickoff return for a score.
It was Sayville's seventh Long Island title. And it was the fifth Rutgers Trophy in school history, having won the award in 1972, 2004, 2011 and 2021.
“It is such an amazing achievement to come full circle with our alumni and be able to celebrate the last 50 years with the entire community,” said Ryan Cox, the director of athletics for the Sayville School District. “We are so proud of Coach [Reade] Sands and his coaching staff. This is an outstanding accomplishment for this group, who worked so hard to earn this honor.”
Sayville scored 125 points with 34 first-place votes, Bayport-Blue Point had 98 points and 13 first-place votes and Bellport finished third with 37 points.
“This award embodies the hard work, commitment and preparation of all of them and the tremendous support of our incredible community,” Cox said. “I would also like to extend our sincerest congratulations to Bayport-Blue Point on a historic undefeated season capped by a Long Island championship.”