West Islip’s Kyle Haff has always been a team-first kind of guy.
“It’s always what the team accomplishes first over any individual award,” Haff said.
But Haff was a finalist last season for the Bob Collotta Award as the top linebacker in Suffolk County, so before this season, he did have an individual goal. (Sayville’s Aidan Kaler was the 2018 winner.)
“It was in the back of my head,” Haff said, “to try to win the Collotta this season.”
Mission accomplished. Haff was presented with the Bob Collotta Award as the top linebacker in Suffolk County at the Suffolk County Football Coaches Association dinner Monday night in Hauppauge. All awards were selected by members of the Suffolk County Football Coaches Association.
“It means the world to me,” the three-year standout said. “I always put the team first, but I had a personal goal to fulfill this year.”
The 5-10, 200-pounder had 85 solo tackles, 20 assisted tackles, 6 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries and an interception for West Islip, which lost to Lindenhurst in the Suffolk II final.
Lindenhurst’s Jack Winey and Sachem East’s Ryan Paolella were the other finalists in a crowded field of talented linebackers across the county.
“He’s led the team in tackles all three years,” said West Islip coach Steve Mileti of Haff. “He’s a blue-collar kid. You put him in any position and he can play.
“He’s also the nicest kid I’ve ever coached. He’ll smile at you, then hit you hard. We give out a weekly [Dick] Butkus award for best hit of the week, and he wins it three or four times a year. He’s a throwback.”
The Tom Cassese Defensive Back Award went to Sayville’s Brock Murtha. Lindenhurst’s Jaden Barber and Connetquot’s Cole Bunicci were also finalists for the honor.
The Joe Cipp Jr. Running Back Award was earned by Hills West’s Justin Brown for the second straight year. Tyshawn Lopez, who helped Floyd to the Long Island Class I final, and Center Moriches’ Emond Frazier were the other finalists.
The 12th Man Award was given to Westhampton twins Jaden & Jesse AlfanoStJohn and Comsewogue’s Nick Stiles.
The Most Outstanding Wide Receiver Award was given to Connetquot’s Cole Bunicci. The finalists were Murtha and Comsewogue’s Anthony Cambria.