Sandy Creek Central School District’s head football coach and athletic coordinator Michael Stevens has been named the Central New York Coach of the Year for Section III and Mason McNitt, a senior at Sandy Creek High School, was named to the All Star Defense Team.
A committee of coaches and sports writers selected the two from the Central New York Section III teams in all divisions.
SCCS Superintendent Stewart Amell had this to say about the recent announcement, “We are very proud of Mike and Mason. Coach Stevens has devoted many hours to his players over the years; most days he puts in 12-15 hours. He is present for every athletic contest and supports our students no matter what. Mike is a humble individual who never looks for recognition; he just enjoys working with young people. We are very fortunate to have Coach Stevens on staff.”
Stevens, who is extremely humble about the Coach of the Year recognition, was quick to point out that for him this is not an individual honor at all saying, “This really represents what we did as a team. You don’t get this far without having done great things as a team,” he continued, “This is an honor that represents what the Sandy Creek team did; this is shared by them, the coaching staff, the school, the parents and the community.”
Coach Stevens had nothing but high praise for Mason McNitt, who had a phenomenal season this year with 14 sacks to his credit. Stevens went on to say that while McNitt was named to the defensive team, he was one of those players who never left the field – playing offense, defense and special teams. A true standout performer, McNitt represents the only Class D division player selected for the honor. Superintendent Amell also praised McNitt saying, “Mason is a fine athlete who participates in many different sports. He works very hard and has a great attitude. I am very proud of his accomplishment. His award is well deserved.”
McNitt, whose jersey number is 33, which he said represents his triple threat offense, defense and special teams participation, doesn’t think the full impact of the championship and recent recognition has completely sunk in yet. “It’s a great feeling, and something I’m going to remember for the rest of my life,” he said. Also quite humble, McNitt credited his parents, and the Sandy Creek coaching staff for helping him to achieve saying, “If it wasn’t for them pushing me, I would not have been as good a player, and I thank them for that.” He also appreciated the tremendous support the team received from the school district and the community. When asked about his most memorable part of the season he quickly said “The semi-final game against Weedsport.” Adding with a shy smile, “I scored all four of our touchdowns in that game.” Not bad for a defensive All Star.
It was that kind of all-around, give-it-your-all play by many on the team that helped make this season an incredible one for Stevens and the Sandy Creek football squad. When the team clinched the Section III Championship with a win over Westmoreland in the Carrier Dome on November 2nd it was a first for the small northern Oswego County school district. “It was a remarkable experience,” Stevens said of the championship season, “From start to finish I am so pleased, and relieved,” he said with a smile, “that the Sandy Creek community has this [championship].”
Not one to rest on his laurels, Stevens is already looking to next year’s season saying, “Not to add any pressure, but we have never won back-to-back championships…”