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Sleepy Hollow Football Banquet Focus Transcends Sports

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December 23, 2021

By Kevin Brown—

Just before the summer of 2021, Jerry Flora was hired to take over as head coach of the Sleepy Hollow Varsity football team. His vision was all encompassing. His goal was to not only develop a strong football program but also to develop young adults who could help serve the community and provide a family for each other.

Flora quickly realized there was a tremendous amount of history and pride in Horsemen football, and he was quick to embrace it. As a result, decided that he wanted to extend the family far beyond simply the current players and cheerleaders.

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One essential enhancement was going to be nurturing football for the entire age spectrum of players participating on Flag, Junior Horsemen, Modified, JV and Varsity football teams, as well as the Cheerleading squads. A great way to do this was to create an event where involved families could begin to understand the depth of passion the community has had for football for decades. Thus, the First Annual Sleepy Hollow Football Banquet, held December 19, was born.

It was an opportunity to celebrate everyone involved in the football program at all ages. Past and present football players were recognized. Tonya Richardson, who coached vibrant cheerleading squads, gave out awards showing the tremendous accomplishments of her athletes. Parents who have given of their time to help coach, cheer and support all of these athletes had a moment to take a bow. From Joe Good, who started Wolfpack football in 2012 because there was no varsity football program that previous year, to Tina Valenti, Eugene Arduino, Denise Scaglione and Christine Good, were all feted for working tirelessly this past season.

Flora made it clear that while football is a fun and important part of community, the most important part was giving back. The previous weekend, 10 players donned their Varsity lettermen jackets and spent a day volunteering for Gullotta House where Matt Gullotta and his amazing team of volunteers distributed meals, toys and other goodies to local families in need in what Flora called “the best community event he has ever been part of.” The whole evening also acted as an opportunity to gather boxes of toys to donate.

The awards started with the announcement that both the football players and cheerleading squads were recognized with a top Scholar Athlete Award. Flora also discussed how he arranged a college fair that included 27 colleges and was attended by sophomores and juniors to help them consider future plans.

Next, Flora announced Damon Fedor and Bobby Lustyk had been chosen to play in the All-America All-Star game in Orlando.

But most of the evening was spent building a bridge between past Horsemen standouts and current players. The following special awards were handed out:

The Alex Adair Leadership Award went to Bobby Lustyik. The Matt Gullotta Defensive Player of the Year Award went to Nick Delmonaco and the Trevor Dimmie Offensive Player of the Year award to Michael Scaglione. The other major awards given out were the Connor Tompkins Special Teams Player of the Year Award to Zach Burnett, the Bruce Thomas Assistant Coach of the Year Award to Harvey Silberbush and the Heart and Soul Student Manager of the Year Award to Scott Klami (DFO).

The Marty Fine Defensive Rookie of the Year Award went to Angel Maria and the Donnie Whitely Offensive Rookie of the Year Award went to Tyler Mahood.

The John Joe Manilla Modified Offensive Player of the Year went to Brayden Richardson and the Frank Antich Modified Defensive Player of the year award went to Alex Vaquero.

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