The Thorp Award is presented by Newsday to the most outstanding football player in Nassau County. Meet the four finalists up for the award on Wednesday night. Credit: Newsday

Jack Cascadden spent this football season being the complete package for Garden City. But it wasn’t until the final day of Long Island’s high school football season that the senior actually felt complete.

The running back and defensive end became a varsity starter as a sophomore in what ultimately became an unfulfilling season; an injury cost him the postseason when the Trojans won their fourth straight Nassau Conference II title but lost the Long Island Class II title to Lindenhurst by a point. He was a Newsday all-Long Island first-team selection as a junior when Garden City won its fifth straight county crown but never got to play in an LIC because of the coronavirus pandemic.

This season ended with everything he sought: an undefeated season, a record-tying sixth straight Nassau title, another Newsday all-Long Island first-team selection and, at long last, the Long Island Class II championship after Garden City downed Bellport, 14-6.

"Even though I didn’t play in it, I was heartbroken when we lost the LIC in 2019 because I loved the guys in the program," Cascadden said. "We’ve had so much success in this program over the years . . . but I’d never even played in an LIC because I was hurt and then there wasn’t one. Hoisting that trophy was definitely a feeling for me. It was awesome. It filled all the gaps in football for me very nicely."

On Wednesday night, Cascadden capped a scintillating senior season by being named the 80th recipient of the prestigious Thorp Award, at the Nassau County High School Football Coaches Association banquet at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury. Newsday annually presents the Thorp to Nassau’s most outstanding player.

He was chosen ahead of three other finalists: Oceanside senior Charlie McKee, who won the Thorp last season; senior quarterback Ryan Heidrich of Long Island Class I champion Massapequa; and Wantagh senior running back/linebacker Tyler Martini.

Cascadden is the second Garden City player to win the Thorp Award, joining 2004 recipient Terence Hartigan.

Cascadden, a 6-3, 215-pounder, played ferociously at defensive end and amassed 73 tackles, including 13 behind the line of scrimmage, in 10 games for Garden City (12-0). He was an equally devastating weapon when the Trojans had the ball, rushing for 1,368 yards and 27 touchdowns on 11.4 yards per carry. He also was an exceptional punter.

He described playing for Garden City as requiring a "commitment to greatness," and nothing underscored Cascadden’s more than the contributions he sought to make in the Nassau II title game against MacArthur. In the semifinal he suffered a knee injury that ruled him out for the game. He instead donned a coaches’ headset in the contest, trying to relay what he called "observations and trends" to his teammates.

"Just because I was hurt, [it] didn’t mean that I wasn’t going to try and do everything I could to lead," Cascadden said. "It was a chance to prove that my presence isn’t as much as on the field as it can be off the field. I could try to make an impact off the field [despite] the injury."

Cascadden returned for the Long Island championship game wearing a knee brace. He played defensive end in the contest and had six tackles and recovered a fumble. He played offense for some downs as a blocker in the second half of the victory.

There is a heft that comes with playing for Garden City because of its long and illustrious history of producing football championships. Cascadden also had the heavy lift of living up to the bloodlines of being the son of former Jet Chad Cascadden. "I was going to chart my own path though," he said. "The knowledge I [gleaned] from my dad was [invaluable]. It helped make me the player I am."

As coach Dave Ettinger explained, "He has one of the highest football IQs I’ve seen in a player. He is a natural."

"For a coach, he is a once-in-a-lifetime player," Ettinger added. "If there was anything the team needed — a yard or a big play — he would make it. He’s what every coach wants."

Cascadden also is a standout in lacrosse, where he plays faceoff/midfielder, and an academic standout. In the fall he will attend Cornell, where he will play lacrosse.

"To me, that was the perfect place to end up," Cascadden said. "I fell for the place as soon as I visited. I know good things are to come there."


2021 – Jack Cascadden, Garden City

2021 Spring – Charlie McKee, Oceanside

2019 – Dan Villari, Plainedge

2018 – Kevon Hall, Roosevelt

2017 – Tommy Heuer, Oceanside

2016 – Jordan McLune, Farmingdale

2015 – Davien Kuinlan, Plainedge

2014 – Jordan Fredericks, Lawrence

2013 – Ray Catapano, Carey

2012 - Billy Andrle, East Meadow

2011 - Robbie Healy, East Meadow

2010 - Tom Joyce, MacArthur

2009 - Anthony Brunetti, Holy Trinity

2008 - Terrell Williams, Hempstead

2007 - Alex Rivas, East Meadow

2006 - Chris Edmond, Freeport

2005 - Ricky Manigat, Baldwin

2004 - Terence Hartigan, Garden City

2003 - Rich Ohrnberger, East Meadow

2002 - Gian Villante, MacArthurOK

1996 - Eric Wedin, Division

1995 - Vaughn Sanders, Lawrence

1994 - Amos Zereoue, Mepham

1993 - Amos Zereoue, Mepham

1992 - Dan Penengo, Syosset

1991 - Eugene Culbreath, Baldwin

1990 - Louis D’Agostino, Lawrence

1989 - Stephen Boyd, V.S. Central

1988 - Lamont Hough, Hempstead

1987 - Elvin Brown, Sewanhaka

1986 - Denis Goodwin, Lynbrook

1985 - Robert Lee, Roosevelt

1984 - Ken Randolph, Sewanhaka

1983 - Anthony Cappellino, New Hyde Park

1982 - Don McPherson, West Hempstead

1981 - Larry Galizia, Lynbrook

1980 - John Rodney, Hicksville

1979 - Ron Heller, Farmingdale

1978 - Herbert Butzke, New Hyde Park

1977 - John Rogan, Chaminade

1976 - Henry Feil, Berner

1975 - Tony Capozzoli, St. Dominic

1974 - Matt Kupec, Syosset

1973 - Joe Diange, Farmingdale

1972 - Larry Esposito, Clarke

1971 - Mike Duffy, Massapequa

1970 - Mark Coady, Carle Place

1969 - Phil LaPorta, V.S. Central

1968 - Dennis Macholz, Bethpage

1967 - Phil Barbaccia, East Meadow

1966 - Warren Koegel, Seaford

1965 - Charles Drimal, V.S. South

1964 - Ed Kane, Levittown

1963 - Guy Riccardi, Freeport

1962 - Jim Litterelle, Mineola

1961 - Sal Ciampi, Lawrence

1960 - Rollie Stichweh, Mineola

1959 - Matt Snell, Carle Place

1958 - John Mackey, Hempstead

1957 - Dave Hayes, Mepham

1956 - Don Kornrumpf, Hempstead

1955 - Paul Rochester, Sewanhaka

1954 - Bob Reifsnyder, Baldwin

1953 - Bill Sandie, Mepham

1952 - Jim Brown, Manhasset

1951 - Dick Martin, Hempstead

1950 - Ed Nickla, Mepham

1949 - Lou Britt, Glen Cove

1948 - Al Kohanowich, Hempstead

1947 - Mike Kinney, V.S. Central

1946 - John Fasano, Port Washington

1945 - Ray Mrozack, Mineola

1944 - Bob Casey, Baldwin

1943 - Billy Wilson, Lawrence

1942 - Fred Miller, Chaminade

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