Andrew Chirico didn’t even have to think about it.
The Seaford two-way lineman injured a tendon in his left hand in a Week 4 loss to Cold Spring Harbor, but he knew that as soon as he was able, he would return to the field for the Vikings.
“I pulled a tendon in my ring finger,” Chirico said, “and had it surgically repaired.”
The senior captain missed only two games and returned on Oct. 21 for the Vikings’ game at North Shore, but not without getting an earful from his doctors.
“They all warned me not to play because I could reinjure it,” Chirico said. “But I couldn’t let my brothers, my family down.”
He certainly didn’t. And a month later, the 6-foot, 195-pounder played right guard on the offensive line and made five tackles from his defensive end position as Seaford held off Miller Place, 29-27, in the Long Island Class IV championship game at Hofstra on Friday.
The kid they called “Cheeks” was all smiles afterward. He played in the last six games of Seaford’s season — all victories.
“I didn’t want to sit the rest of the season out,” said Chirico, who has his hand taped before every game and practice. “Being team captain, I knew it meant a lot that I was out on the field every play. So I just kept working hard every play and every game. Without working hard, we wouldn’t have been where we are.”
It also meant a lot to Chirico’s family, which was in attendance on Friday.
“This season has been a blessing and a curse,” said Al Chirico, Andrew’s father. “This will be the last time I’ll ever see him play football . . . The injury was a setback, but he was the captain, and he did a really great job. There’s no place on Earth I’d rather be.”
Andrew Chirico felt the same way on the turf of Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.
“Ever since I was little, this was my dream,” Chirico said. “I couldn’t have done it with a better group of guys. All 41 of us. Every day, every week, working as hard as we could.”