Eye on POY: New York football

The window on the Gatorade State Football Player of the Year race is closing, and time is running out for student-athletes to state their POY case. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program's selection process.

Stacey Bedell

Senior Running Back, William Floyd High (Mastic Beach, NY)

2011 Team record: 9-2

2011 Team standing: Plays East Meadow in Long Island championship game, 11/26

2011 Carries-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 192-2,120 (11.0)-32

Academics: B average

Collegiate destination: Undecided

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: All-State and All-Long Island in 2010; 258 yards in Suffolk County title game.

Akeel Lynch

Senior Running Back, St. Francis High (Athol Springs, NY)

2011 Team record: 8-3

2011 Team standing: Defeated St. Joe's, 37-16, in Monsignor Martin Association championship game

2011 Carries-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 213-2,131 (10.0)-25

Academics: A-minus average

Collegiate destination: Boston College (verbal)

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: All -Western New York; MVP of Kickoff Classic; St. Francis single-season rushing record.

Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Football Player of the Year race isn’t over yet. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Here are some more of many who’ve been in the conversation throughout the 2011 campaign.

Chad Kelly: St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute (Buffalo, NY) SR QB

DeVante McFarlane: Half Hollow Hills West High (Dix Hills, NY) SR RB

Jarron Jones: Aquinas Institute (Rochester, NY) SR OL/DL

Wayne Morgan: Erasmus Hall (Brooklyn, NY) SR QB/DB

Tyler Rouse: Baker High (Baldwinsville, NY) JR RB

Dominic Scavo: Hornell High (Hornell, NY) SR QB

Think we're missing a deserving Gatorade State Player of the Year candidate in your state? Let us know via e-mail at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com or Twitter @ESPNHS_GPOY.