It was a historic season for Jack Cheshire and the Sayville football team, but rather than focusing on the past, the Golden Flashes already are looking forward to what’s next.
Even before the Long Island Class III championship game began Friday, Cheshire had Long Island’s single-season record for touchdown passes and was only the second player in L.I. history to throw for more than 3,000 yards in a season, joining former Sayville star Jack Coan. And in the minutes following Sayville’s 56-20 loss to Plainedge at Stony Brook University, despite the defeat, the junior quarterback couldn’t help but be thankful for what the team accomplished and what the future might hold.
“It was amazing,” Cheshire said. “The seniors that we had on this team this year were just unbelievable. We had a great time and it was the best team I’ve ever been a part of.”
After Sayville fell behind 21-0 early in the second quarter, Cheshire helped orchestrate a four-play, 66-yard drive capped by a 14-yard touchdown pass to Jayson Gensch with 8:55 left in the second quarter.
He also completed a 4-yard touchdown pass to Nathan Casaburi to end a seven-play, 60-yard drive in the second quarter. That gave him a Long Island-record 43 touchdown passes. But that would be the first-team offense’s final scoring in this game.
“We never gave up and we tried to stay confident,” Cheshire said. “But we just let it slip away.”
Cheshire was 13-for-21 passing for 174 yards. Despite limited playing time even on the junior varsity level, he surpassed the Long Island record of local legend Coan, the current Wisconsin quarterback, who threw 40 touchdown passes for Sayville in 2014. Coan passed for 3,431 yards that season; Cheshire threw for 3,226 this year.
“It was a learning experience for him, too,” Sayville coach Reade Sands said. “He had a lot of great receivers around him and we had a great season. He’s going to have unbelievable confidence going into next year and he just did a terrific job.”
Cheshire also couldn’t help but admire the quarterback play for Plainedge. Dan Villari rushed for 306 yards and four touchdowns on 24 carries and also passed for two scores.
“Villari’s incredible,” Cheshire said. “It’s unbelievable how good he is and what he’s able to do.”
Sands said that after an offseason focused on the weight room, he expects Cheshire and the rest of the team to come back stronger next season after Sayville (11-1) won its first county title since 2015.
“I learned a lot,” Cheshire said. “We have to come back confident next year. We have a huge group of juniors and we have five All-County kids coming back, so I think it’s going to be huge for next year.”