As they scrambled for a spot on the turf next to the winner's trophy, the Glenn players suddenly began chanting. What was it they were saying? "Check money . . . check money, money, money," they shouted loudly, over and over again, from the south end zone at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium.
Glenn and its quarterback, Rich Czeczotka, cashed in Friday, overwhelming Roosevelt, 56-21, for their second consecutive Long Island Class IV championship.
"The kids have been doing that since about the middle of the season," Glenn coach Dave Shanahan said. "It's a play on his name. Check money. He's a money player. He's money in the bank."
Glenn has cashed many Czeczotka checks this season. The 6-2, 215-pound senior, in his first season as a full-time starter, ran for 110 yards and two touchdowns and completed 14 of 20 passes for another 142 yards as the Knights combined efficient offense with opportunistic special teams and an alert defense.
For the season, Czeczotka accounted for 42 touchdowns -- money indeed! He threw for 25 (plus 1,977 yards) and ran for 17 (and 786 yards).
"I knew this was coming,'' said Czeczotka, who shared the starting job last year with Ryan Rielly until a broken thumb kept him out of the 2010 title run and Rielly went on to Newsday All-Long Island honors. "I knew this was possible because we had the talent.''
A lot of it was on display Friday -- Tommy Forsberg ran for four touchdowns and Nick Wagner had a record-setting day with two return touchdowns -- but Czeczotka has been a reliable blue-chip stock all season.
He was bullish early, when the Knights established control. He completed 4 of 5 passes for 32 yards and carried three times for 22 yards on the opening drive, powering in from a yard out for the touchdown. He had a 14-yard completion and a 23-yard run in a second-quarter scoring drive that made it 35-0. He cashed the final check of his high school career with a 25-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter, then left the game moments later to a rousing ovation from the ample Glenn crowd.
"That was a great feeling,'' Czeczotka said. "It's all just starting to soak in now, to go out on top.''
Shanahan wasn't surprised. "I knew Rich could do it,'' he said. "He's passionate about the game of football. He did everything he possibly could to get better.''
Most noticeably, he became an accurate passer. This season, he completed 70 percent of his throws (123-for-176). "His ability to put touch on the ball,'' Shanahan said, citing one area of improvement. "He's got a cannon and now he can drop it in, too. Plus he runs like Tim Tebow.''
Colleges are noticing. Czeczotka said he's being recruited by Maine, New Hampshire, Stony Brook and Toledo. The quarterback said he grew confident that another LIC was a distinct possibility for the Knights "after we bounced back from our only loss to Amityville ,'' Czeczotka said. "That's when I knew we could take it all the way.''
Czeczotka was quick to credit his offensive line for his success -- Friday and all season. "They gave me plenty of time to throw and opened holes for me to run,'' he said. "We were determined to make a stand on offense today and just keep coming. The line was phenomenal.''
He said he has thanked his linemen in his own way all season. "After every game that we win, I take them to McDonald's,'' Czeczotka said.
Of course, he picks up the check.
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