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Sayville quarterback Jack Coan is driven to be the best

Sayville quarterback Jack Coan passes against Huntington in

Sayville quarterback Jack Coan passes against Huntington in the Suffolk Division III football final at Stony Brook University. (Nov. 23, 2013) Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

After one particularly grueling late-night practice session in March, something happened that Jack Coan hadn't anticipated. Dinner was timed a little too closely to throwing and footwork drills -- with so many scheduling obligations, overlaps of such variety were the norm -- and it caught up to him.

He clamped his hands on his knees and threw up.

Technically, it was lacrosse season, and Coan had starred for the varsity team just hours earlier. But for the Sayville quarterback, football season never really ended.

That immaculate work ethic and dedication to preparation defined Coan's offseason, and has surged him past the natural maturation expected of a rising sophomore and into a different realm entirely.

Through eight games this season, Coan's 27 touchdown passes are 11 shy of Joe Capobianco's Long Island single-season record and 18 short of Greg Paulus' New York state record. Coan has thrown for 2,195 yards this season, trailing Capobianco by 762 yards and Paulus by 1,482 for the Long Island and New York state records, respectively.

And even those numbers fail to reveal just how firmly Coan has continually stuffed the stat sheet. Sayville is 8-0 and has an average margin of victory of 38.1 points, lending way to extra playing time for non-starters and rest for the first team. Coan has yet to play a full game in 2014, and has only sniffed action in the fourth quarter for one series this season. In one especially lopsided affair, he didn't take a single snap in the second half.

"He's basically missed two and a half games that way, which is stats," Sayville coach Rob Hoss said.

But even with as many as four games remaining to make a run at history, Coan isn't overly concerned with his personal trophy case. All that matters is getting back to the conference championship game, where Sayville came up short a season ago.

"I guess it would be pretty cool , but I don't think it would mean much if we didn't win a championship this year," Coan said. "That's all we really want to do."

Hoss, who is in his 14th year as Sayville coach, has never encountered a player more motivated.

"He's different. He's not normal," Hoss said. "His progress in one year is the most that I've ever had in a quarterback.

"There were times in the offseason when he would call me and be like, 'Coach, could we get another day [of practice] in?' We're already doing three days a week, and he's dragging me out onto the field. That's how driven he is."

Under the tutelage of Hoss, the 6-3, 170-pound quarterback has upped his completion percentage from 51 percent as a freshman to 62 percent as a sophomore. The intricacies of the playbook have become second nature. Through strength training and improved mechanics, the velocity on Coan's passes, Hoss said, has increased "tenfold."

"Coach Hoss prepares me as much as possible for every game so I can succeed," Coan said.

Coan's numbers off the field are just as impressive, and further speak to his ambition. With a 102.7 grade-point average and a quiet, reserved demeanor, Coan's teachers have a hard time believing he is the same kid that commands the huddle for Sayville.

While the spotlight is on Coan, his humility dictates his desire to reflect it on to his supporting cast.

"I'm close with all my teammates," Coan said. "They all love my success and in my opinion, it's because of them. My line is giving me plenty of time to throw the ball. My receivers are doing a great job getting open. I feel like I'm just doing my job."

Coan has already verbally accepted a scholarship to play lacrosse at Notre Dame, but he is still being actively recruited for football. Boston College, Syracuse and Rutgers have all come to see him play. USC, Alabama and South Carolina have all requested his film.

"He loves Notre Dame, but if a big-time I-A football program comes in and offers him [a scholarship], he'll have a decision to make," Hoss said.

And to think Coan is only 15.

"He's a prodigy," Hoss said. "He's going to be a kid that everybody on Long Island, if not most of the country, is going to know about."

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