TODAY'S PAPER
Broken Clouds 25° Good Evening
Broken Clouds 25° Good Evening
SportsHigh SchoolFootball

North Babylon’s Sobotker, Estrella share special bond

Seniors are close friends and have guided Bulldogs to Friday’s Class II title game.

North BabylonÕs David Estrella, left, congratulates Anthony Sobotker

North BabylonÕs David Estrella, left, congratulates Anthony Sobotker after he scores a touchdown against West Islip in the Suffolk Division II football final at LaValle Stadium on Friday, Nov. 17, 2017. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Anthony Sobotker and David Estrella may have started their football careers on different teams, but it seems as if North Babylon’s dynamic duo has been together for everything else since.

Both seniors are starting running backs and linebackers for the Bulldogs this season. They also have wrestled on varsity since seventh grade and are defending county champs: Sobotker at 145 pounds and Estrella at 152. (Sobotker finished third in the state and Estrella was fourth last winter.)

Fittingly, their friendship started on the football field as members of the North Babylon Athletic Club youth football program. But there was one issue: Their dads coached different teams:

“Our dads were both coaches, so we always got drafted on separate teams,” Estrella said. “But he’s always been my best friend since we were younger. We have a bond you can’t break.”

That bond has radiated throughout the entire Bulldogs team this season. Now North Babylon (10-1) will face Garden City (11-0) in the Long Island Class II championship game at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.

The two storied programs are tied with four other teams that have won a record six Long Island championships.

This is the Bulldogs’ first trip to Long Island’s ultimate game since 2009. Sobotker and Estrella were fourth-graders then and were in the stands as Garden City beat North Babylon at Hofstra, 9-6.

“I remember being in the crowd,” Sobotker said. “I was watching and thinking, “I gotta get here one day.’ ”

Sobotker and the Bulldogs finally will get their chance, but his road to Hofstra has been difficult. He said he suffered a non-contact knee injury against Copiague in Week 5 in 2015 that forced him to miss the rest of his sophomore season and most of last year.

“He had a devastating injury and he was devastated,” said Bulldogs coach Terry Manning, who coached Anthony’s father, Bobby, in 1984, as well as his older brother, Brandon, who graduated last season. “It took him a couple of weeks to get his act together offensively. But then he started rolling.”

So did the Bulldogs, who have allowed only 10.6 points per game in their last five contests and have won seven straight games. Estrella has been the centerpiece of the Bulldogs’ offense with 1,938 yards (third best on Long Island), 26 touchdowns and an average of 7.4 yards per carry. Sobotker added 551 yards rushing and seven touchdowns.

The two text regularly, and their conversations have become more emotional lately.

“We know it’s our last game ever together, and we are trying to make the most of it,” said Estrella, who recently signed a national letter of intent to play lacrosse at Stony Brook. “We want to make our dreams a reality and try to make memories with our brothers.”

NORTH BABYLON

ROSTER

No. Player Grade Pos.

1 Robert Calhoun 12 RB/DB

2 Thomas Heegan 11 QB/DB

5 Davante Manragh 11 RB/LB

6 Shakeer McPherson 11 RB/DB

7 Ross Tallarico 10 QB/DB

8 J.T. Padrone 10 K

9 Anthony Sobotker 12 FB/LB

12 James Miele 11 QB/DB

13 Keyshawn Boyd 11 RB/DB

14 David Estrella* 12 QB/DB

17 Khalil Brown 11 RB/DB

18 Javante Smith 11 RB/DB

19 Daniel Mistretta 12 K

20 Quadir Russell 12 RB/DB

22 P.J. Tchinnis* 12 RB/DB

26 Sean Fay 12 RB/DB

27 Nick Picataggio 10 TE/DB

28 Chris Caputo 11 RB/DB

29 Brendon Didier 11 RB/DB

32 Tyrese Hill 10 RB/DB

33 Joe Gelosi 12 FB/LB

34 Kieron Bryan 11 FB/LB

39 Ryan McFadden 10 FB/LB

40 Jacob Ferrer 12 TE/DB

44 Schuyler Valensky* 12 FB/LB

45 Francesco Velez 12 FB/LB

47 Craig Jackson 11 RB/DB

54 Joseph Kolk 12 OL/DL

55 Anthony Paladino 12 OL/DL

56 Travis Wall 11 OL/DL

57 Jamal Raymond 11 OL/DL

58 Keyshawn Phillip 12 OL/DL

59 Alec Ryjacek 10 OL/DL

63 Aiden Tchinnis 9 OL/DL

64 Bobby Sheppard 11 OL/DL

65 A.J. Miller 11 OL/DL

66 Isaac Stumpf 12 OL/DL

67 Jeff Burnham 11 OL/DL

68 Terrence Hassel 12 OL/DL

69 Chadrick Lewis 12 OL/DL

70 Anthony Filipkowski 11 OL/DL

72 Nick Sokol* 12 OL/DL

73 Angel Paz 11 OL/DL

74 Gregory Sesso 11 OL/DL

75 Connor Dyckman 11 OL/DL

77 Billy Muller 12 OL/DL

78 Sean Martin 10 FB/DL

79 Joe Cook 12 OL/DL

80 Ramin Alam 11 TE/DL

81 Donato Schook 12 RB/LB

83 Jalen Blue 11 TE/DE

87 George Tsavaris 10 TE/DE

88 Richard Sellers 12 TE/DE

89 Frank Montour 12 TE/DE

Coach Terry Manning

ROAD TO THE LIC

NORTH BABYLON (10-1)

Huntington W 32-7

Bay Shore W 22-0

Smithtown West W 54-6

West Islip L 6-14

Copiague W 68-26

Centereach W 28-20

Newfield W 33-10

Deer Park W 55-6

Smithtown West W 33-24, quarterfinal

Centereach W 14-7, semifinal

West Islip W 30-6, Suffolk final

Total 375-126

More high schools

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to Newsday is free for Optimum customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.

LOGIN SUBSCRIBE