The highlight of Luca Marra’s senior football season didn’t come after one of his five touchdowns, or any of his breakout plays. Instead, it was after one of North Shore High School’s worst losses of the season — a 35-7 defeat at the hands of Wantagh.
“Even in such a bad loss, there wasn’t one ounce of quit in anybody on our team,” said Marra, of Glen Cove. “That was the best loss that I’ve ever been a part of.” The 17-year-old wide receiver and safety, a three-year starter and team captain this year, was proud of the character his team demonstrated during a tough season, where North Shore finished with only two wins.
Marra’s teammates were eager to vouch for his leadership abilities. When quarterback Danny Livoti, of Glen Head, broke his hand in the Vikings’ Homecoming game, Marra was the first to assure him that the team would finish strong.
“Even though we ended up losing, he showed that he was on the field doing it for me,” said Livoti, who has been throwing passes to Marra since the two were in sixth grade.
Marra also took some of the younger teammates under his wing this season. He often sat down with junior running back Will Scarola, of Glen Head, before practice and go over plays.
“Even when he was a junior, the teammates still looked up to him more than the seniors,” Scarola said. “[Next season] is going to be weird without him, but I have to take what I learned from him and do the same with the younger kids.”
Marra’s leadership has not gone unrecognized. Last month he was named a School Winner of the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award, given to student athletes around the country who are leaders on the field and in their communities. To be eligible for the award, a candidate must maintain a GPA over 3.0. Some 40,000 athletes were nominated, and Marra was one of 7,500 selected.
School Winners have the chance to become State Finalists and receive a $500 scholarship, and although he fell short of the state qualifier, Marra said he was honored to be acknowledged. “I’m a very self-motivated guy,” he said. “But to get that kind of recognition, it feels good.”
He found out about the award a few weeks ago from his guidance counselor. “I originally thought she was going to talk to me about my classes,” he said. Having no idea he had even been nominated, he was shocked to find out he had been selected as a winner.
“Luca is one of those kids that you like having in the classroom,” said Ed Corona, a North Shore math teacher and Marra’s track coach. “You can always count on him to be engaging and ask good questions.”
Marra is unsure where he will attend college next fall, but he plans to continue his football and track career wherever he decides to go. On the track team, he runs the 400 hurdles.
He hopes to become a lawyer, and he is president of the high school’s Mock Trial Club. He said he has devoted as much time to the club as he has to sports, and said that time management is the key to juggling a busy athletic schedule and maintaining a solid GPA.
In September, he was nominated for USA Football’s Heart of a Giant Award, which is given to a high school football player in the tristate area who demonstrates an unparalleled work ethic and passion for the game.
Now that his North Shore football career is over, Marra looks back at his time with the team fondly, and said he would miss playing in front of the community every week. “Walking around the hallways, everyone was happy and excited about [football],” he said. “Everyone really comes together for that short period of time and just enjoys a high school football game.”