For the second year in a row, an athlete from Bay Shore High School’s varsity football team has been named a finalist for the USA Football Heart of a Giant Award.
The finalist designation earns the school $1,000 grant for new football equipment.
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.
Last year, senior offensive lineman Kenneth Eleazer earned the honor after deciding to play in 2018 after his mother died two days before opening day.
This year’s finalist goes to junior starting quarterback, Richie Arnett, who suffered a similar tragedy. His father passed away right before the season started. After taking a few weeks off in the preseason, he returned to the field to honor his dad.
“Football helped to get my mind off of the whole situation and to help release some stress and anger,” said Richie, who has been the varsity team’s starter since his sophomore year.
Bay Shore head coach Mike Brown couldn’t be more proud of his quarterback.
To see him battle and still be able to perform on the field despite what he has gone through is truly inspirational,” he said. “With everything that he’s juggling, he still is currently 5th in Suffolk County in passing yards.”
In addition to his skill, Brown went on to say Richie is a leader above all else.
“Recently, we tragically lost a former coach, and Richie was instrumental in making sure we showed our love and support for him as a team,” said Brown. “That is the definition of a Heart of a Giant.'”
how to win
The Heart of a Giant Award process begins by USA Football selecting 10 nominees for the award over six weeks. Each week, the community votes for on who should become a finalist.
Richie was named a finalist for Week 2.
Once all six weeks are completed (on Nov. 4), USA Football asks all finalists to submit a video explaining why they should win the award.
After that, the New York Giants, USA Football, and Hospital for Special Surgery will select a winner and four honorable mentions. The win earns an additional $9,000 grant, with honorable mentions receiving an extra $1,000.
The winner will be selected later this year and honored at a Giants home game.
GreaterBayShore will keep you updated if Richie wins.
Top: Bay Shore quarterback Richie Arnett (credit: Twitter).