In leading Oceanside to its third appearance in the Nassau Conference I football championship game in four seasons, junior quarterback Charlie McKee and senior two-way standout Andres Duran were rewarded with the county’s most prestigious individual awards.
McKee was presented with the 79th Thorp Award, given to Nassau’s most outstanding player, and Duran was named the Piner Award recipient for the county’s top linebacker. McKee also won the Don Snyder Award as the county’s No. 1 quarterback.
“It’s awesome for the kids to be recognized for the biggest awards in the county,” Sailors head coach Rob Blount said. “It’s a testament to their work ethic and talent.”
Oceanside enjoyed a perfect regular-season mark of 6-0 and defeated Syosset in the semifinals before losing a heartbreaker to Massapequa in the county championship game.
Including playoffs, McKee was 126-for-196 passing for 1,459 yards and 16 touchdowns with just two interceptions. He also rushed for 488 yards, averaged 6.6 yards per carry and had 12 touchdown runs. He was chosen ahead of three other Thorp finalists: Garden City running back/linebacker Jack Cascadden, Massapequa quarterback John Giller and MacArthur running back/linebacker Ryan Isom.
“I was kind of speechless when I heard the news,” said McKee, the school’s all-time leader in passing touchdowns with 66. “It wouldn’t be possible without my coaches and teammates, so I want to thank them for everything.”
McKee is the second Oceanside player to win the Thorp, joining 2017 recipient Tommy Heuer. McKee bulked up since his 2019 sophomore campaign, adding roughly 25 pounds of muscle to get to 195 and becoming a true dual threat. “It was a longer offseason than usual and I worked a lot to improve my body, strength and speed,” McKee said. “It’s important to be a quarterback who can also run.”
McKee’s development opened up the team’s playbook, Blount said, and included more read options. He carried 74 times this season after totaling 81 attempts in his first two years. McKee rushed for three scores in the playoff win over Syosset and had two rushing touchdowns in each of the first three regular-season games. “Bulking up allowed him to absorb more hits than he could as a sophomore and freshman,” Blount said.
Duran took 112 handoffs from McKee and was widely regarded as one of the top two-way starters in the county. “Andres was basically our quarterback on defense,” Blount said. “We were fortunate to have him for two seasons.”
Duran had 783 yards and 9 touchdowns. On defense, he had 43 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a fumble recovery. Wantagh’s Liam Casey and Manhasset’s Blaze Conlan were the other finalists for the Piner.
“It’s a prestigious award and I’m pretty pumped to win it,” Duran said. “It’s like a dream. I worked really hard during the offseason and took pride in being on the field 24/7.”