Written by Michael Florio Thursday, 07 November 2013 00:00
For senior Jake Young, playing for the New Hyde Park Gladiators football team is more then just an opportunity to get to play the game he loves; it is a brotherhood.
Young has gone through hard times while as a member of the Gladiators; whether it’s his mother’s battle with cancer, his brother Dan serving for the armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan or dealing with the death of a close friend Frank
Trivigno, his teammates have always helped him through it.
Young found out about the death of one of his close friends as he walked off the field after a game. He credits the strong bond with his teammates and coaches for getting him through this incident.
“They were crying because I was crying,” Young said. “Without them I would have had a hard time coping and handling everything.”
Young has been playing football since middle school, where he started out as a cornerback. He played for Great Neck as freshman before transferring to New Hyde Park Memorial High School as a sophomore.
He played cornerback his first year with the program, before switching to middle linebacker once moving up to varsity as a junior. Despite being on the team, Young did not step on the field as a junior.
“Jake didn’t play a lot last year,” said Gladiators head coach Kevin Dolan. “But through all the tough times with moms illness, working on his body, trying to keep up with his grades and everything else life has thrown at him, he has become one of our best players.”
Despite coming in with little experience this season, Young has made a great impact on the Gladiators. He is always among the Gladiators leaders in tackles.
“I have an opportunity to go All-Conference depending on how I do in our last game,” he said. “I have an opportunity to go in the all-state bowl, which is a game all seniors
After this year, Young hopes to play for a community college in Arizona.
Even with all of this, perhaps the thing Young is most looking forward to is the opportunity to play in front of his brother, who just returned from Afghanistan last week.
“It’s awesome,” he said.
Young credits his brother as a big reason why he plays football, and wears his brothers No. 7 jersey out on the field.
“The best compliment I’ve ever had was my dad telling me that I looked like my brother on the football field,” he said. “That was just the best feeling.”
Young’s teammates and coaches can always count on him to work his hardest.
“He’s been an unbelievable player to coach,” said Dolan. “Every coach we play against has a comment to say about his toughness and curiosity on the field.”