Out of 60 Tri-State high school football players nominated, Bay Shore’s Kenneth Eleazer is one of six finalists for the 2018 USA Football Heart of a Giant Award.
The contest — sponsored by Hospital for Special Surgery and the New York Giants — recognizes Tri-State high school football players who have overcome adversity and displayed commitment, character, teamwork, dedication, and will.
To become a finalist, the senior offensive lineman, who many know as Kenny, had to tell his story.
Before this season, Kenny’s mother was in and out of the hospital because of a recurring battle with cancer. On a Friday before his first game of the season, he learned that his mother had months to live. His mother died just two days later.
“He never disappeared, he never fell apart,” said Bay Shore football coach Mike Brown.
“It was the hardest thing that ever happened to me in my life,” said the 16-year-old. “I was so broken I wanted to give up on everything, but my football family and coaches helped me through, and are still helping me on and off the field.”
Next, he called on the community to help vote for him.
And many of them did, according to GreaterBayShore’s Facebook.
For being named a finalist, the starting right tackle earned his high school $1,500 toward funding for the football program. If he wins the award, he’ll win his team an additional $3,500, while receiving a trophy at the New York Giants home game against the Tennesse Titans on Dec. 16.
To select the winner, each nominee had to create a video submission explaining why they should win the award. USA Football, Hospital for Special Surgery and the New York Giants will review the videos and pick one Heart of a Giant Award recipient.
Top: A photo of Kenny Eleazer from his video submission.