There’s a pretty good chance Andrew Zaccagnino has been tangled up in more pileups this season than any linebacker in Section 1.
And he usually emerges with a smile.
The undersized Byram Hills senior is right at home in the middle of the defense. He lives for contact. Zaccagnino was leading the Bobcats with 86 tackles and four sacks heading into a Class A play-in Friday at Somers.
“Andrew would prefer to just line up and hit,” head coach Scott Saunders said.
It’s a description that brings a knowing laugh from Zaccagnino.
“That’s 100 percent me,” he said. “I’m like that all the time, my nickname is Crazy. I like to hit people. I grew up playing football. I had ADHD so it kind of helped me burn that energy.”
Zaccagnino is only 5-foot-9 and would have to lug 30 pounds of barbells onto the scale to reach 200.
Size is rarely an issue, though.
“He comes with a fearless attitude,” Saunders added. “He’s a kid who just loves to play football. He’ got a knack for showing up around the ball. And that relentless attitude is what allows him to be in the mix on every single play.”
One timely stop could instantly salvage an up and down season.
Byram Hills came into the postseason with a 1-5 record, but four of the losses were by one touchdown or less. Scoring isn’t an issue. The Bobcats average more than 30 points a game.
Zaccagnino is busy on that side of the ball, too.
When he’s not hanging around in the backfield to make sure quarterback Louis Filappelli has time or space, he’s the primary back and has run for 245 yards.
“Getting to block for Lou is not a bad job,” Zaccagnino said. “Once again, I get to hit somebody. The best part about that is knowing each time I block somebody I’m preventing the other guy from doing his job. It makes my day.”
He’s also got 22 receptions, most of them coming when Filappelli is checking down under pressure.
“Andrew has been a big contributor just being a reliable target who’s always there,” Saunders said.
Playing both ways is part of the deal at Byram Hills.
“It’s my senior year, so every time I go out there I want to play at 100 percent, like I’m in the Super Bowl,” Zaccagnino said. “We have 20 healthy bodies, just barely enough to play. We love to play so everybody goes both ways and we push ourselves to the limit.”