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Making History at Hofstra: NHP Goes to Football Playoff Semifinals for the First Time in 24 Years

By Manal Rashid

The “Big Four” Section VIII semifinal game had the Gladiators’ name written all over it following a 22-6 win over Elmont in the quarterfinal round of playoffs. After 24 years, with its last semifinal match in 1999, New Hyde Park advanced to Hofstra to battle the Garden City Trojans on Saturday, November 11.

Many students observed the crowd demonstrating immense support for the team. Some parents and friends held up signs to uplift the athletes on this historic day.

Source by Linda Cheung

Some parents create signs to display their support for varsity football athletes at Hofstra.

“The crowd never failed to show their support for our gladiators,” Gladiator Nation President Alexa Stec said. “The cheerleaders were always hyping up the team, and whenever we got a big play, the crowd was always loud and cheering.”

“The role of fan enthusiasm/participation plays a major role in team drive on the field,” senior Chad Zboril said. "I would say when most of the team hears the fans cheering on the sideline, we get fired up, the adrenaline starts working over time.”

Source by Linda Cheung

A New Hyde Park varsity football athlete protects the ball from the Garden City Trojans.

In preparation for the game on November 11th, the team had to make changes to their practice accordingly.

“Breaking a 24-year playoff drought, we've turned dreams into reality, showcasing that unwavering perseverance, collective hard work, and a united team spirit can conquer any challenge on the journey to success,” varsity football Co-Captain Eric Shi said. “Our practices have reached new levels of intensity in anticipation of the upcoming playoff game with the island's top-ranked team, driven by an unwavering commitment to confront the challenge directly and emerge triumphant. We constantly inspire one another to elevate our skills, excited to show off our improved skills on the field soon.”

Source by Linda Cheung

Running Back and Left-back Antonio Torres carries the ball into Trojan territory.

Though the high-intensity practices were able to physically prepare the players for their big game, they also had to worry about the mental aspects and had to stay motivated.

“The team stayed motivated by setting goals, communicating openly, and supporting each other,” senior Matthew Muntzenberger said. “During tough times, they adapted and learned from setbacks, staying committed to success.”

Source by Linda Cheung

Coach Maier talks to varsity football athletes during a time-out.

Many staff and faculty regard the journey to the Section 8 playoffs as remarkable and believe that it will change the game within the community and for future players.

“[This playoff experience is] extremely significant for the program and the young kids that want to play football,” varsity football Co-Captain Aidan Garvey said. “It’s just going to encourage young athletes to want to play, because of the coaching and the community that they’re gonna be around. It creates great friends and family to be around, so it’s also why I suggest that everyone gives it a shot.”

Source by Linda Cheung

Many students and faculty recognize the significance of NHP advancing to Section VIII Conference Semifinals for the first time in 24 years.

The Gladiators’ season got cut short as the team lost to Garden City by a score of 35-0. Despite the loss, some believe the team’s journey demonstrated resilience and excellence. Many in the community recognize the Gladiators for their efforts in each game.


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