Sayville High School in the Class III Long Island championships,...

Sayville High School in the Class III Long Island championships, Saturday, November 26, 2022 at LaValle Stadium. Credit: George Faella

This was what Sayville wanted, the day when the vision came to life, the day when the Suffolk champ wove all the pieces together into one glorious result against a great opponent from Nassau.

It was the day when this football team won the Long Island Class III championship.

“We’ve been talking about this since I can remember, since middle school, elementary school,” said Kyle Messina, the sensational sophomore running back/linebacker. “We’ve always said that this day would happen. When we were on JV together, we always talked about it. We talked about it every day — this day.”

This day was Nov. 26. The site was Stony Brook’s LaValle Stadium. The Golden Flashes took a 21-point lead in the first quarter and beat Plainedge, 33-7, to claim the program’s first Long Island crown since 2015 and finish a perfect 12-0.

“We worked so long and so hard, all those hours put into this,” quarterback Jake Tripptree said. “And we’re the champions.”

They fit the profile.

“They’re tough,” Sayville coach Reade Sands said. “They’re smart. They have a no-quit attitude. They’re just an unbelievable group of kids. Not to mention, they’re very talented. We have speed all over the place. Our speed won the game.”

Tripptree spoke of the motivational roots stemming back to their loss to East Islip in the Suffolk final the previous November and the sad sight that followed.

“All the seniors were crying,” Tripptree said. 

The junior sprained his left shoulder in the latest county final, a 28-3 win over Westhampton. He only got cleared to play the day before the Plainedge game.

“But I was preparing the whole week,” Tripptree said. “I wasn’t practicing, but I was watching film, getting the reads down, making sure I was prepared as if I were to play. 

“When I got hit a few times, to be honest, it hurt [a lot]. But I stuck through it. The adrenaline was definitely helping. My teammates helped me up every time. And then the line gave me time to throw the ball.”

Indeed he wasn’t sacked. Center Vin Bonfanti, guards Griffin Perez and David Christiansen and tackles Ryan Leniec and Liam Higgins held up their end nicely. Tripptree went 18-for-24 and threw for 200 yards and two touchdowns. Messina ran for 97 yards and two scores, including one he set up with an interception. 

Sayville ended up averaging 40.5 points per game.

“I think definitely the O-line, [Tripptree], really everyone,” Messina said, explaining the success. “We had so many receivers just making play after play. We just have playmakers everywhere.”

Even in the return game.

Luke Hansen kicked off the barrage against Plainedge by running back the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown. 

“I think it definitely shocked them,” Hansen said. “… After that, they knew they were in trouble.”

So could “this day” happen again next November? The stars, Tripptree and Messina, are among 22 who can return.

“I definitely think we’ll be back here,” Messina said. “I think you’ll see another Long Island championship again.”

Road to the Long Island Championship

Suffolk III quarterfinal - Beat Hauppauge, 49-7

Suffolk III semifinal - Beat Harborfields, 49-0

Suffolk III final - Beat Westhampton, 28-3

Long Island final - Beat Plainedge, 33-7


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