Father and sons achieve coaching pinnacle
Very few men — in one family — can share and savor what Joe Cipp of Bellport and his two sons, Sonny and Jeff, have accomplished in their athletic careers.
Last Sunday night, Jeff Cipp joined his dad and older brother to gain a “pinnacle.”
“It is definitely unique,” said longtime William Floyd head coach Paul Longo. “They are a real football family, for sure. Their teams are very disciplined. That is a common thing.”
Jeff Cipp sparked the Longwood Lions to a 47-28 victory over previously undefeated Farmingdale to win the 2015 Class I Long Island Championship. The four LIC titles are the biggest annual treasures at stake for 110 public school teams in Suffolk and Nassau counties.
Last weekend, Suffolk teams won all four LICs. Newfield of Selden (Class II), Sayville (Class III) and Shoreham-Wading River (a repeat champion for Class IV) all finished with perfect 12-0 records.
About 6,000 spectators saw Longwood’s potent offense excel (an LIC-record 555 yards rushing) against the Nassau winner at LaValle Stadium on the campus of Stony Brook University.
In addition to Jeff’s No. 1 trophy, Joe Cipp, before retiring, coached Bellport to five LICs: 1992, 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2010. Sonny Cipp is the youngest coach to win an LIC when he directed Longwood to the 1998 crown.
“I am happy because I know what they are going through and to be able to witness how they got to that pinnacle of success,” said Joe Cipp. “This is the highest point you can win and [Class I] is the hardest … You are happy you didn’t scare them off. My profession didn’t scare them off. They both became educators and football coaches.”
Sonny and Jeff both played for their dad. They learned his example and followed in his footsteps.
“They know the work ethic involved,” said Joe Cipp. “They know the basics, a lot of hard work and [studying] film work. [Football] is a big part of their lives. They don’t look at a clock.”
Jeff Cipp, a 1990 first-team All-State lineman for the Clippers, and his older brother, the Bellport head coach the last five seasons, are both Bellport residents and teachers at Longwood High School. Jeff took command of the Lions’ varsity prior to the 2014 season and his teams own a combined 20-2 record. Longwood swept four 2015 playoff games and finished 11-1 overall with a roster loaded with a powerful offensive line and talented running backs. In the Suffolk final two weeks ago, Jeff Cipp saw his Lions conquer previously undefeated and top-seeded Lindenhurst 44-14.
Since New York State does not sponsor statewide playoffs, LIC winners do not compete against Upstate or NYC opponents. Long Island coaches have rejected competing outside Nassau and Suffolk. They have repeatedly shortchanged and denied LI players and coaches the opportunity to compete for state supremacy, which is available annually for other boys’ and girls’ varsity sports to become a state champ.
During the three other LIC duels last weekend, former Bellport standout Joe Piccininni led the undefeated Newfield Wolverines to Class II glory, beating Levittown MacArthur 41-33.
Sayville, which has won 23 of its last 24 games for coach Rob Hoss, rolled over previously undefeated Plainedge 59-15 for the Class III title. Record-setting quarterback Jack Coan, perhaps the best junior skill player on Long Island, has already thrown for more than 8,000 career yards and 80 touchdowns in his three varsity seasons.
In Class IV, Shoreham-Wading River extended its winning streak to 24 games by dominating Locust Valley 37-7.
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