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T-Birds Honored with All-Long Island Awards

Posted Sunday, December 14, 2008 by Michael Konsevitch

Congratulations to Jeremy Leggiero and Jon Sternbach for being named to Newsday's All-Long Island Team and LIBLITZ.com's All-Long Island Team. Newsday named John Smith and Joe Zuco to the 2nd team and LIBLITZ.com named Justin Bertone and Zuco to their 2nd team.

Jeremy Leggiero had an unbelievable year. Named LIBLITZ.com Defensive Player of the Year and winning the Collotta Award as the best linebacker in Suffolk County, Leggiero played every play on defense with a ferocious attitude and made plays all over the field. He led the team and Long Island with 153 tackles, an average of just under 15 tackles a game. He, also, led the team with 22 tackles for a loss. He was tied for second on the team with 5 quarterback sacks and had 3 interceptions, 2 of them in the Suffolk County Championship game. Offensively, he was a bruising fullback making many key blocks and rushed for 357 yards on 58 attempts, a 6.2 average. He scored 6 touchdowns, 4 rushing, 2 receiving.

Jon Sternbach had another phenomenal season for the T-Birds. This three-year starter was probably the MVP in Division I making many big plays offensively, defensively, and on special teams. Offensively, Sternbach led the team with 37 receptions for 670 yards, an 18.1 average and 6 touchdowns. He, also, ran the ball for 3 more touchdowns. Defensively, he made all of the coverage checks and led the team with 6 interceptions, one of which he returned for a school-record 100 yards. He had 71 tackles and made many unbelievable kick returns all season. He had a 95-yard touchdown return. For the season he was second on the team with 11 touchdowns and had 9 plays that totaled 40 or more yards. 

Joe Zuco had an incredible year rushing the football. He worked behind an outstanding offensive line and just wore down defenses. Zuco can be a power runner and a runner with finesse. He had one of the best seasons ever by a T-Bird running back. He ran the ball for 1300 yards on 194 attempts, a 6.7 average and had 14 touchdowns, two touchdowns in the Suffolk County Championship and two touchdowns in the Long Island Championship. He will be working extremely hard to build on this fantastic junior season.

John Smith had an awesome season. He was a "Warrior" on both sides of the ball and played two very important positions exceptionally well. Defensively he was the leader. He called the plays in the huddle and was very inspirational with how he played and what he said. Smith was second on the team with 102 tackles, he had 2.5 quarterback sacks, and one interception, a huge one in the Suffolk County Championship. Offensively, he anchored a line that was one of the best offensive lines on Long Island. The energy needed to play guard and middle linebacker is very difficult. To do it as a two-way player is unheard of. Smith did just that!

Justin Bertone was a very important part of the T-Birds great success. As a two-sport star, soccer and football, Bertone made the most of all of his opportunities. He kicked 7 field goals, only missing 2. He, also, had the longest field goal on Long Island this season with a 50-yard FG against William Floyd. He kicked 32 of 38 PAT's which gave him 53 points. His kickoffs were fantastic. He constantly made the opponents start off with poor field position, which helps a defense tremendously.

The Connetquot Thunderbirds, 2008 Long Island Champions, had an amazing year. There were a ton of great plays and special moments. They were a team of awesome players that were, also, awesome people. These are just five of the many. It was a year that will be remembered forever!

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