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Babylon Football Takes Second Straight Rutgers Trophy

Varsity football's perfect season rewarded with trophy signifying the best team in the county.

Babylon's 2013 varsity football team. Credit: Scott Moore.
Babylon's 2013 varsity football team. Credit: Scott Moore.
With two Long Island Championships under their belts and 24 straight wins, the Babylon Panthers varsity football team added another piece of hardware to their growing collection: a second straight Rutgers Trophy.

The Rutgers Trophy is annually awarded to the team considered the best by the Suffolk County Football Coaches Association in Suffolk County.

Babylon, a combined 24-0 between the last two seasons, totaled 113 points, including 38 out of the possible 48 first-place votes, to take the trophy over other schools, including Sachem North, which tallied 95 points for 67th annual award.

"It's a testament to the work ethic of all the kids in our program, who grow up in our community believing at a young age that they too can be champions," Babylon coach Rick Punzone told Newsday. "Our players and coaching staff have a lot of pride in our tradition."

In his 11 years at the helm, Punzone has been key to the Panthers' successes. His 99-19 record is one of the best across Long Island. He has guided the team to five Long Island Championship appearances, winning it four times.

"Our goal from the first day of practice was to win the LIC again," said quarterback Nick Santorelli to Newsday. "We knew we had a lot of experience and a ton of talent coming back from last year's championship team, but we took nothing for granted."

The Panthers are the first Long Island team to complete back-to-back perfect seasons and the first back-to-back Rutgers Trophy winners since the Floyd Colonials took it home three straight years from 2005 to 2007.

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