Video: John Daniggelis' highlight vs. East Islip
See the Smithtown East star quarterback in action during his senior season
The last time John Daniggelis
picked up a football before taking the field as starting quarterback in the Empire Challenge at Hofstra University in June was his final game as varsity quarterback at Smithtown East (N.Y.)
But that didn't stop Daniggelis from earning MVP honors in the prestigious 20th-annual event.
"We had eight practices before the game, which helped me get some of the rust off," said Daniggelis. "I was also energized by being around so many talented players and wide receivers. It was like having new toys to play with."
The results show it. Daniggelis threw for 121 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 66 yards and another TD to lead Long Island to a 34-27 win before nearly 10,000 fans at Hofstra University on June 23.
After the game, Daniggelis was presented the MVP award by Boomer Esiason, the former NFL quarterback and East Islip High School star who originated the event known as "The Boomer Bowl."
"Standing next to Boomer Esiason and shaking his hand is something I will never forget," Daniggelis said.
Considering Daniggelis always dreamed of playing in the "Boomer Bowl," you might think not only playing in it but earning MVP was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Except for one thing.
During June, and into early July, Daniggelis enjoyed several once-in-a-lifetime moments during a mind-boggling stretch of achievements, accomplishments and accolades that few (if any) New York state high school athletes have ever matched.
It started when Daniggelis, a midfielder bound for Yale University who led Smithtown East's boys lacrosse team to its first back-to-back Suffolk County titles, was named to the US Lacrosse All-America team.
Then came an unprecedented double play of sorts at the Suffolk County Awards Dinner.
Daniggelis earned the Ray Ennis Award as Suffolk's outstanding player and the US Lacrosse Bob Scott Award as the player who goes above and beyond in service to his school, team and community.
"I was running late because I was coming from an Empire Challenge practice, and had no idea about either award," Daniggelis said. "Hearing my name announced for both was like Christmas morning. It was a great honor and a tribute to what our team has accomplished these last two years."
But wait, as they say in those infomercials, there's more.
Daniggelis was one of 105 lacrosse players from throughout the nation invited to try out for the Under 19 team that will be competing in the 2016 World Games. The tryout ended July 2 at Stevenson University in Owings Mills, Md.
After those three days, Daniggelis was one of 50 players selected to attend training camp Aug. 7-9 at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The event will include a Blue vs. White exhibition game after which the final roster will be determined.
"I'm really looking forward to that," Daniggelis said. "It should be a tremendous experience."
The 23-player team will be headed to the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) Under-19 World Championship in Coquitlam, British Columbia, July 7-16, 2016.
The training camp at Hopkins will cap off a wild stretch of success for Daniggelis, whose next stop is Yale University in the fall.
As one of the top football/lacrosse players in Long Island history, some expect the 6-foot, 190-pound Daniggelis to wind up playing both sports at Yale, though he was recruited to play lacrosse. He ended his varsity football career with 5,000 career yards passing and rushing and threw for nearly 1,000 yards and rushed for 750 his senior year.
"It's something I am considering giving a try," Daniggelis said. "But the first thing I want to do is focus on academics and see how that goes."