Vincenzo Milione of Carey, 2018 Martone Award recipient given annually...

Vincenzo Milione of Carey, 2018 Martone Award recipient given annually to the top lineman in Nassau County, poses for a portrait during the Nassau County Gridion Banquet at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. Credit: James Escher

Vincenzo Milione suffered a torn LCL in his right knee last year, and Carey’s football team anxiously awaited his return in 2018. As the season progressed, it became evident that the senior lineman wasn’t the same dynamic player his teammates and coaches had watched over the years.

In fact, this was the most proficient version of Milione they’d ever seen.

Milione, a left tackle and noseguard, was named the Martone Award winner as the county’s top lineman at the Nassau County Coaches Association banquet Wednesday night at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury.

Other finalists were MacArthur’s Sean Tierney and Emmanuel Fleming of Elmont.

Entering his final season in a Seahawks uniform, Milione said he needed to prove himself to his teammates after suffering the season-ending knee injury at Calhoun in Week 3 of 2017.

“I had to earn a lot of respect after not playing last year,” Milione said. “During workouts, my teammates saw how much work I put in. It was a very challenging process. I did six months of physical therapy, and it was a big mountain that I had to climb.”

But once Milione conquered that metaphorical mountain, Carey coach Mike Stanley noticed how the team’s fortunes began to swing dramatically.

“I would say he started off a little slow the first few weeks getting used to playing football again,” Stanley said. “Maybe he was a little tentative early on. But once he got his confidence going, he took off, and we really did, too.”

Stanley detailed how the two-way lineman had a visible influence on both sides of the ball.

“The last two years we were 11-3 with him and 2-5 without him,” Stanley said. “He has a huge impact, and when we want to run the ball, we favor his side. He was big on defense also. When he started playing well on the defensive line, we started having more success.”

Though Milione said he does have a preference.

“I enjoy offense more,” he said. “I like seeing the scoreboard light up and playing a role in scoring.”

His return helped produce an 8-3 season by the Seahawks, who advanced to the county final before losing to eventual Long Island Class II champion Garden City.

“His work ethic and attitude coming off of his junior year set him apart,” Stanley said. “Coming off a season-ending knee injury last year, I don’t know how everyone would approach their season after that. He was working out, training, and putting a lot of effort in to come back the way he did.”

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