Another long wait ended for Lindenhurst on Monday night when — in an extremely close vote — it was awarded the 2017 Rutgers Trophy as the most outstanding football team in Suffolk County.
Coached by Nick Lombardo for a ninth straight season, Lindenhurst (12-0) earned 26 first-place votes and 124 points. Westhampton, which also went 12-0 and won the Long Island Class III title, was second with 23 first-place votes and 120 points. North Babylon (10-2) was third with 21 points.
The announcement was made at the Suffolk County Football Coaches Association dinner in Hauppauge after a vote by the county’s coaches.
Lindenhurst, which also won the Rutgers Trophy in 1962 and 1963, defeated Oceanside, 40-23, in the Long Island Class I championship game on Nov. 26 at Stony Brook’s LaValle Stadium. It was the Bulldogs’ first title in the 26-year history of the Long Island Championships.
Lindenhurst entered the season as the No. 2 seed behind Floyd but beat the Colonials twice. After a 21-7 win at Floyd in Week 6, Lindenhurst defeated the Colonials in the Suffolk I final, 35-12, to reach the Long Island Championships for the second time.
In an exciting Long Island Class I championship game, Lindenhurst scored 10 points in the fourth quarter to pull away from the Sailors. Jeremy Ruckert, the Ohio State-bound wide receiver, had five catches for 110 yards and a touchdown, kicked two field goals and four PATs, and made the key play of the game when he blocked a field goal and returned it 61 yards to set up a touchdown.
Quarterback Nick Anzalone, who completed 83 percent of his passes this season, completed 14 of 20 passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns against Oceanside.
“We made a lot of school history,’’ he said. “It was awesome.”