Congratulations to Michael Pellegrino and Kevin McHale for being named to Newsday's All-Long Island team. Pellegrino, a junior running back/ defensive back/ kick returner, had an outstanding season. He did everything that was asked of him and consistently went above and beyond expectations. His selection as one of 24 players from Long Island to be selected to the First Team is well-deserving.
Offensively he rushed for 1209 yards on 178 carries for a 6.8 average and 14 touchdowns. He, also, caught 17 passes for 233 yards and two touchdowns. He had a combined 2090 all-purpose yards and 17 touchdowns in nine games. Incredible! In his two seasons he has amassed over 2700 total all-purpose yards, 19 touchdowns, and has brought a great number of exciting plays to his teammates, coaches, and fans of Connetquot football.
Defensively he built off his outstanding season last year, in which he started all twelve games as a sophomore, being one of the key leaders to an excellent defense. He finished the season with 67 tackles, 42 solo, nine tackles for loss, two interceptions, eight pass break-ups, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. He was such a tough, hard-nosed player that he was moved to linebacker for the last two games, the position he will be playing next season. In his two seasons he has totaled 139 tackles, 92 solo, 11 tackles for loss, five interceptions, 16 pass break-ups, forced four fumbles, and recovered one.
Kevin McHale, a two-year starter as a center on the offensive line and a nose guard on the defensive line, had back-to-back outstanding seasons. His selection as one of 24 players from Long Island to be named All-Long Island Second Team was well-deserving as well. McHale was the anchor the past two seasons on an excellent offensive line that paved the way for great running backs, Joe Zuco, Jeremy Leggiero, Joe Pellegrino, Chris Dale, John Zullo, and Michael Pellegrino, and provided terrific protection for Ryan Andersen.
Offensively, McHale consistently provided outstanding leadership and blocking in his 21 games played, all starts, the past two seasons. The center is perhaps the most important position on the offensive line and Kevin manned the position with excellence. The past two seasons the Thunderbirds were one of the better running teams in Suffolk County and the offensive line was a huge part of that. More importantly his work ethic was second to none. He worked as hard as any other player we've had over the last seven years. Always in the weight room, always at practice, always at speed school. A true role-model to his teammates and future Thunderbirds!
Defensively he was the number one nose guard the past two seasons consistently being a force on the D-Line taking on double teams, freeing up our great linebackers to make terrific plays, and making many key stops. This past season he made 28 tackles, 16 solo, two quarterback sacks, and five tackles for loss. In his career he finished with 52 tackles, four quarterback sacks, and eight tackles for loss.
Congratulations to both Michael and Kevin for this huge honor and thank you for all that you brought these past two season to your teammates and coaches. Two players who define what it means to be a Connetquot Thunderbird-passionate, respectful, hard-working, enthusiastic, outstanding people, and winners. Thanks to these two Warriors and their phenomenal teammates, the Connetquot Thunderbirds were 2008 Long Island Champions and 2009 Big Four Champs!