TODAY'S PAPER
39° Good Afternoon
39° Good Afternoon
SportsHigh SchoolFootball

Roosevelt's Kevon Hall named Thorp Award winner

Senior RB/linebacker rushed for 2,207 yards and 22 TDs, threw for another score and also was a force on defense.

Kevon Hall of Roosevelt, 2018 Thorp Award recipient,

Kevon Hall of Roosevelt, 2018 Thorp Award recipient, poses for a portrait the annual Nassau County Gridion Banquet at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. Photo Credit: James Escher

The question posed on Tuesday didn’t linger in the air long before Joe Vito pounced on. The Roosevelt football coach was asked what the Rough Riders’ season might have looked like if not for the performance of senior Kevon Hall.

“Maybe we win two games — maybe not any,” Vito said. “He was the heart, the soul, the guts of our team. He was on the field for every play except kickoffs and we needed him there for all of it.”

Hall, Roosevelt’s featured running back and linebacker, capped a brilliant season by being named the 77th recipient of the Thorp Award at the Nassau County High School Football Coaches Association banquet on Wednesday night at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury. Newsday presents the Thorp annually to Nassau’s most outstanding player. The other finalists were Freeport senior running back/defensive back Justin Lescouflair and Garden City senior running back/defensive back Trevor Yeboah-Kodie.

Hall is the third Roosevelt player to win the Thorp and first since 1999, when Jerone Pettus shared it with Port Washington’s Jason Ham. The Rough Riders’ Robert Lee won the award in 1985.

“There’s Jerone Pettus and there’s Kevon Hall,” Vito said. “That’s the top of the list at Roosevelt.”

Hall excelled in what might have been his most challenging season. The Rough Riders installed a new young offensive line in front of him, meaning he couldn’t rely on the strong blocking that helped him to surpass 1,700 yards during the 2017 regular season. It didn’t slow him.

Hall finished the season with 2,207 yards rushing on 206 carries and ran for 22 touchdowns and four two-point conversions. He also threw an option pass for a TD. As a linebacker, he had 63 tackles, three interceptions and a sack.

“It’s amazing that he was able to accomplish what he did,” Vito said. “It makes me wonder what his season might have been like if he’d been running behind a group of experienced linemen who were used to playing together. I almost feel badly for the kid that he didn’t get to.”

Roosevelt (5-4) finished the regular season 5-3 in Nassau III and earned the No. 3 seeding for the postseason but suffered an upset loss to South Side in the first round. The Cyclones focused on taking Hall out of the equation and managed to keep him off the scoreboard for only the second time this season.

The rest of the time, Hall was piling up the yards and points as one of Long Island’s best running backs, often putting up eye-popping numbers. He had five games in which he surpassed 200 rushing yards, including three with more than 300.

Hall had 376 yards and four touchdowns against Hewlett, 363 yards rushing and six touchdowns against Valley Stream North and 343 yards and four touchdowns against Bethpage. He ran for 286 yards and five touchdowns against Floral Park.

“We were in a situation where he had to take the ball,” Vito said. “He accounted for maybe 98 percent of our offense.”

Hall began the season positioned on defense as an outside linebacker, but moved to an inside spot midseason because of an injury.

“This was a player who would do whatever it took to help our team and in that way he was an example to our many younger players.” Vito said. “He doesn’t say a lot, but he gave them a standard to try to rise up and meet.”

A goal-oriented approach has been the cornerstone of Hall’s successes. Vito said that Hall comes up with a plan to reach the goals and then uses his “extraordinary” work ethic to reach them and overachieve.

“He applies himself to whatever he is learning and always strives to become better,” Vito said.

During the season, Hall attracted the interest of schools like Temple and Stony Brook, though he could choose to do a post-graduate year at a prep school before accepting a college scholarship.

“He wants to play college football and I see a player who will excel when he does,” Vito said. “If he could shine in this season — when he didn’t have the experience around him to help — he can do anything he puts his mind to.”

NEWSDAY THORP AWARD WINNERS

2018 - Kevon Hall, Roosevelt

2017 – Tommy Heuer, Oceanside

2016 – Jordan McLune, Farmingdale

2015 – Davien Kuinlan, Plainedge

2014 – Jordan Fredericks, Lawrence

2013 – Ray Catapano, Carey

2012 - Billy Andrle, East Meadow

2011 - Robbie Healy, East Meadow

2010 - Tom Joyce, MacArthur

2009 - Anthony Brunetti, Holy Trinity

2008 - Terrell Williams, Hempstead

2007 - Alex Rivas, East Meadow

2006 - Chris Edmond, Freeport

2005 - Ricky Manigat, Baldwin

2004 - Terence Hartigan, Garden City

2003 - Rich Ohrnberger, East Meadow

2002 - Gian Villante, MacArthur

2001 - D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Freeport

2000 - Chris Richez, Freeport

1999 - Jason Ham, Port Washington and Jerone Pettus, Roosevelt

1998 - Clifton Smith, Freeport

1997 - Kevin Pierce, Clarke

1996 - Eric Wedin, Division

1995 - Vaughn Sanders, Lawrence

1994 - Amos Zereoue, Mepham

1993 - Amos Zereoue, Mepham

1992 - Dan Penengo, Syosset

1991 - Eugene Culbreath, Baldwin

1990 - Louis D’Agostino, Lawrence

1989 - Stephen Boyd, V.S. Central

1988 - Lamont Hough, Hempstead

1987 - Elvin Brown, Sewanhaka

1986 - Denis Goodwin, Lynbrook

1985 - Robert Lee, Roosevelt

1984 - Ken Randolph, Sewanhaka

1983 - Anthony Cappellino, New Hyde Park

1982 - Don McPherson, West Hempstead

1981 - Larry Galizia, Lynbrook

1980 - John Rodney, Hicksville

1979 - Ron Heller, Farmingdale

1978 - Herbert Butzke, New Hyde Park

1977 - John Rogan, Chaminade

1976 - Henry Feil, Berner

1975 - Tony Capozzoli, St. Dominic

1974 - Matt Kupec, Syosset

1973 - Joe Diange, Farmingdale

1972 - Larry Esposito, Clarke

1971 - Mike Duffy, Massapequa

1970 - Mark Coady, Carle Place

1969 - Phil LaPorta, V.S. Central

1968 - Dennis Macholz, Bethpage

1967 - Phil Barbaccia, East Meadow

1966 - Warren Koegel, Seaford

1965 - Charles Drimal, V.S. South

1964 - Ed Kane, Levittown

1963 - Guy Riccardi, Freeport

1962 - Jim Litterelle, Mineola

1961 - Sal Ciampi, Lawrence

1960 - Rollie Stichweh, Mineola

1959 - Matt Snell, Carle Place

1958 - John Mackey, Hempstead

1957 - Dave Hayes, Mepham

1956 - Don Kornrumpf, Hempstead

1955 - Paul Rochester, Sewanhaka

1954 - Bob Reifsnyder, Baldwin

1953 - Bill Sandie, Mepham

1952 - Jim Brown, Manhasset

1951 - Dick Martin, Hempstead

1950 - Ed Nickla, Mepham

1949 - Lou Britt, Glen Cove

1948 - Al Kohanowich, Hempstead

1947 - Mike Kinney, V.S. Central

1946 - John Fasano, Port Washington

1945 - Ray Mrozack, Mineola

1944 - Bob Casey, Baldwin

1943 - Billy Wilson, Lawrence

1942 - Fred Miller, Chaminade

More high schools