Itís a coach's dream to have players on their team who want the ball, especially during crunch time.

Frank Sabatino was one of those guys. A quarterback and a pitcher, Sabatino didn't shy away from pressure as an outstanding two-sport standout at Steinert.

"Frank Sabatino was an outstanding quarterback who led our team to the first championship in 34 years," said former SHS coach Frank Gatto. "He led the team during the 2000 season to a magical year, always performing well in big games."

Sabatino guided Steinert to an 8-2 record and its first playoff berth in 2000, along with a share of the Colonial Valley Conferenceís Colonial Division title.

"Frank was a quarterback on the football team playing as a sophomore and starting as both a junior and senior," said assistant coach Bill James. "Frank was one of the top quarterbacks to play at Steinert and could make the offense successful both as a passer and as a runner. He was a very intelligent quarterback and a team leader. He was part of a class, along with fellow (Steinert Athletic) Hall of Famers Mike Costello and Bob Ziegler, who helped turn around and change the culture of football under Head Coach Frank Gatto. In those years the program started winning, compiling a record of 18-12. He was a great person to be around, a good teammate and an important member of our greater school community."

One of the many important games Sabatino excelled in was his senior year in the annual Thanksgiving Day rivalry with Hamilton. With an estimated 7,000 fans looking on, Steinert High defeated the Hornets 27-13 to snap a five-game Turkey Day losing streak. Sabatino threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as the Spartans finished off the second-best season in their history at 8-2, and in the process created a 3-way tie in the Colonial Division.

And, football was just half of the athletic story for Sabatino.

"Frank was also a great pitcher on state championship teams in baseball," Gatto said.

As a pitcher, he carved out a 19-2 record and was named the teamís Most Improved Player as a junior.

"Being part of the Steinert baseball program, you might not even realize it when you're playing, but what a great program it is," Sabatino said. "Just being a part of those teams, the caliber of players and coaches around me, itís just special."