A.J. Otranto was the face of the Floyd football program for the past three years. He was the key element of a team that marched to consecutive Long Island Class I championships.
And every time Otranto put the Colonials on his back and lifted them to victory the crowd raised huge poster boards with his face on it in acknowledgment of his greatness. Otranto was a real hometown leader.
"There have been great players that have come through our program," Floyd coach Paul Longo said. "A.J. is another one who left quite a legacy winning three Suffolk titles. He was everything a coach would want in a leader on and off the field -- a true winner."
Otranto threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more as Floyd defeated Farmingdale, 31-14, on Thursday for the Class I crown. He finished the season with 23 touchdown passes and ran for 10 more.
For his accomplishments, Otranto was named the winner of the Boomer Esiason Award given to Suffolk's top quarterback Monday at the Suffolk County Football Coaches Association dinner at the Hyatt in Hauppauge.
Whether it was the perfect throw or the scramble for first-down yardage, Otranto had a knack for the big moment. He threw for two touchdowns in the 54-47 Class I title win over East Meadow in 2011. They were his only two passes of the game.
"He was a playmaker," Longo said. "He was so important to our drive to the title that we couldn't afford to put him on defense for fear of a potential injury. And he was one of our best defensive players."
Otranto, a three-year starter and one of the hardest hitters for Floyd, made defensive backs pay when they tried to line him up for a tackle. His physicality and strength helped him avoid the various blitz packages and rush of athletic linebackers.
"I'd do whatever it took to win for my team," Otranto said. "Our goal was to win the LIC this year and I wasn't going to let them down. We got through some tough times and kept it together. I'm so proud of our team."
Throughout the Class I championship game, an emotionally charged Otranto moved up and down the sideline firing up his teammates and leading them to victory.
You would expect nothing less.