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Lindenhurst wins Rutgers Trophy as Suffolk’s top football team

Lindenhurst head coach Nick Lombardo holds the Rutgers

Lindenhurst head coach Nick Lombardo holds the Rutgers Trophy while surrounded by his players and assistant coaches during the Suffolk football awards dinner at the Hyatt Regency Windwatch in Hauppauge on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017. Credit: Daniel De Mato

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.”

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