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Slats named Suffolk County’s 12th Man

Varsity - 2013 Season
Posted Wednesday, January 22, 2014 by Sachem Patch

Slats named Suffolk County’s 12th Man



Sachem coach Dave Falco and Michael Slattery.

Sachem coach Dave Falco and Michael Slattery.

By now, Michael Slattery’s fumble recovery and reception on October 25 against Lindenhurst are just as much a part of Sachem lore as this recent Long Island championship victory.

The play that put Slats on the map could not have been scripted more perfectly and neither could his senior football season, which ended brilliantly with a Long Island title and the 12th Man Award given by the Suffolk County Football Coaches Association presented Monday night.

The honor is presented annually to a player who overcomes serious injury, disability, odds or adversity to return and contribute to the success of his team.

A special education student at Sachem High School North, Slattery, better known as “Slats” to friends, teammates and coaches, has been an integral part of the program since his freshman season.

Everyone knows Slats. If you don’t, just think about the time you saw No. 35 dancing on the sidelines to the upbeat jams played during stoppages at Fred Fusaro Alumni Stadium. Or the player you see constantly screaming and waving his yellow rally towel around like a madman for 48 minutes. Or the player who runs through Sachem’s Native American headdress, high-fives teammates and finds someone to chest bump immediately after (often the guy writing this story). That’s Slats.

As if getting the game ball from his efforts against Lindenhurst, being featured on News 12 during a Thanksgiving Day segment and winning a championship ring weren’t enough to fill his memory banks with, he now has a huge trophy as Suffolk’s 12th Man.

“There are no words to describe this,” said Slats, who seemingly always has something to say whenever you talk to the cheery and energetic senior. “I didn’t realize until they called my name that I’d be getting honored tonight. It’s just awesome.”

Sachem coach Dave Falco has been one of Slats’ biggest supporters and credits him as a motivational factor for his teammates.

Said Falco, “Sometimes our super star kids need to be reminded how lucky they are and to see Michael’s genuine enthusiasm about being there every day was an inspiration to those guys. That guy is going to struggle, but he wants to be out there everyday.”

But more importantly it was also a way for Slats to experience Sachem football, which always has a way of making people feel a part of something bigger than any one individual.

“This is an amazing honor for him,” said Sachem senior and team captain Justin Rivera. “He deserves all the recognition he gets. He always cheers us on, is always there to greet us on the field, helps us get rowdy. He is always there for us.”

During his News 12 interview Slats famously said he sleeps with his game ball from the Lindenhurst contest and will bring that with him in the future, even when he gets married. He can add a trophy to the mix now.

“I can’t ask for anything better,” he said. “Sachem has given me such an amazing opportunity.”

-Words by Chris R. Vaccaro

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