Garden City is keeping it in the family.
Brendan Staub and Jack Cascadden, graduating seniors at Garden City, were recent co-winners of the Tom Flatley Award, presented annually to a male student-athlete in Nassau who competes at a high level in football and lacrosse, demonstrates athletic and peer leadership, has academic success and participates in extracurricular school and/or community service.
Flatley coached lacrosse at Sewanhaka before taking over the Garden City football program in 1983. He led the Trojans to 18 conference and five Long Island championships as head coach from 1985-2014.
“It’s just incredible to be able to get that award,” said Staub, who played one year of junior varsity lacrosse under Flatley. “It’s so awesome and so honoring to be able to be recognized under that name, which holds so much weight here.”
Both athletes played instrumental roles as Garden City won the Long Island Class II championship in football last fall and a state Class B title in boys lacrosse this past spring.
Staub won the Martone Award as the top lineman in Nassau and was the Newsday Nassau Player of the Year in boys lacrosse this year. Cascadden, a running back and defensive end, won the Thorp Award as Nassau’s most outstanding football player and was a Newsday All-Long Island faceoff man.
And yet, football is the second sport for both student-athletes. Both will play lacrosse at Cornell.
Both took pride in being multi-sport athletes, which seemingly is the way at Garden City. Neither wanted to be a part of sports specialization.
“I would say Garden City is kind of the exception for that,” Staub said. “I think for my lacrosse team senior class, almost every single guy was either on the football team or soccer team, especially football. The connection at Garden City between football and lacrosse is huge.”
“Those two sports are my pride, my passion. It’s what I’ve been doing forever,” Cascadden said. “So when people tell me ‘it’s incredible you’re a two-sport athlete,’ that’s the norm around here, honestly. Most of the guys you see on the football field are lacrosse guys with shoulder pads and a helmet on, so being a multi-sport athlete is just what we do in this town.”
And the results led to domination. The two were integral members of three Nassau Class II football titles, winning the Long Island Class II championship and earning the Rutgers Cup last fall. They also won Long Island championships in lacrosse as juniors and seniors after not having a sophomore campaign because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s the tradition around here and it’s what we shoot for,” Cascadden said. “You shoot to play in that last game. It’s something the coaches also emphasize at the start of every season.”
Staub said the success of previous teams continues to serve as additional motivation for the next group of student-athletes.
“I think you look up and you want to be a part of it,” he said. “I think success builds on itself, so I think the success one year motivates guys to want to be a part of both.”
Staub is a big, physical defender who also contributes on offense in lacrosse. He had 10 goals and 10 assists with 88 ground balls and 25 caused turnovers this past spring.
Cascadden is one of the best faceoff players in the country. He won 76% of his faceoffs this season and had two goals and an assist in Garden City’s state final.
“You can’t ask for any two better kids than those two,” football coach David Ettinger said. “And for them to come through at the same time is kind of crazy.”
The two are leaving together as well, looking to continue their winning ways at Cornell. On top of all their team and individual success, the two are thrilled to share an award like this together.
“For one Garden City kid to do it for Coach Flatley is special,” Cascadden said. “But to have two kids do it is unreal. There’s no one I’d rather do it with and no one more deserving than Brendan.”