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Lindenhurst wins Rutgers Trophy as Suffolk's top team

Lindenhurst poses with the Class II trophy after

Lindenhurst poses with the Class II trophy after their victory against Garden City in the Class II Long Island Championship on Saturday at Hofstra. Credit: George A. Faella

Lindenhurst captured its second Rutgers Trophy in the past three years. The Bulldogs earned the distinction after an undefeated run to the Long Island Class II championship.

The Bulldogs earned 40 first-place votes and totaled 207 points to capture the coveted Rutgers Trophy as the most outstanding football team Monday night at the Suffolk County High School Football Coaches Association banquet at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Hauppauge.

Lindenhurst came back for a thrilling 14-13 win over Garden City to win the Long Island crown. The Bulldogs erased a 13-0 third-quarter deficit as Jaden Barber scored two second-half touchdowns for the win.

“It is a tremendous honor to win the Rutgers Trophy again,” Lindenhurst coach Nick Lombardo said. “It’s a testament to the pride and the dedication our players have in our program. We have played inspired football and put in the time to be one of the top teams.”

Floyd (11-1), the Suffolk Division I titlist, had no first-place votes but had 81 total points to finish second in the voting. Shoreham-Wading River (11-1), the Long Island Class IV champion, earned three first-place votes and had 76 total points to finish third.

“We share in this team award and it caps an awesome senior season,” senior captain Will Ruckert said. “We all went for the same goal and achieved it together.”

Lindenhurst shut out four opponents during a season in which a stingy defensive unit set the stage for a Long Island title by allowing only seven points per game.

“We were balanced on both sides of the ball,” Lombardo said. “And we made the big plays when we needed them the most. It was an incredibly satisfying season. I love this group of players and they always put the team first.”

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