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Rutgers Trophy: Sayville football finishes where it started — on top

Sayville's Tom Cea is congratulated by teammates after

Sayville's Tom Cea is congratulated by teammates after scoring during the Suffolk Conference III championship football game against Westhampton in Sayville on Friday, April 23, 2021. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

They were Long Island’s top-ranked team from start to finish. The Golden Flashes did not disappoint and were every bit the offensive juggernaut expected.

Sayville averaged more than 450 yards and 41 points per game through a 6-0 season on the way to the Suffolk Conference III championship. They beat Westhampton Beach in the final, 32-7. It was their sixth undefeated season since the football program began in 1929.

Along the way they mauled every team in their path. The high point in the season may have come in Week 2 where they took on the challenge of playing Suffolk Conference I powerhouse William Floyd in a non-league game on the road.

Sayville answered the bell with a thorough 24-0 knockout of the Colonials, the defending Conference I champions. The win proved that in certain years the lower enrollment schools can compete against the larger enrollment schools.

"You want to be the best, so you have to beat the best and we did that," said Sayville coach Reade Sands. "We accepted the challenge and put it on the line against a program that we respect."

For their accomplishments, Sayville earned the 74th Rutgers Trophy, presented to Suffolk’s most outstanding team. Sayville totaled 130 points, West Islip 67 and Floyd 48.

West Islip captured the Suffolk Conference II crown and Floyd won the Conference I title.

"This was a special team through and through," Sands said. "We didn’t have a weakness. Our guys put in so much time in the offseason hoping to play this spring. It was a fantastic run."

It was the fifth time that Sayville earned the prestigious Rutgers Trophy. The Golden Flashes last won the award in 2015.

Sayville players also garnered many individual awards. Quarterback Jack Cheshire won the Hansen Award presented to Suffolk’s top player. He also copped the Boomer Award given to the best quarterback. Defensive end Max Llewellyn earned the Burnett Award, given to Suffolk’s top defensive player. He also won the Zellner Award, as Suffolk’s top lineman. CJ Messina took home the National Football Foundation top receiver award.

And Sands was named Newsday's All-Long Island coach of the year.

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