Fall Sports Football Player Profiles Sports

Athlete of the Week Matt Sapienza ’21 Possesses a ‘Contagious’ Passion for the Game

D.Zhu/The Phillipian

A returning Lower from North Andover, Matt Sapienza ’21 contributes to the team as both a wide receiver and a cornerback. In addition to being an asset on both the offense and defense, Sapienza is an enthusiastic and coachable player for Andover Football, according to Head Coach Leon Modeste and Co-Captain Will Litton ’19.

“His performance in the last game was very good. He tackled well and used his brain and listened to his coaches. Even though his performance was great though, there is always room to improve. He can become stronger, faster, and more savvy,” said Modeste.

“What makes Matt successful is his attitude. When things aren’t going his way, he stays composed. You can also count on Matt to lead by example. He always does his to his best ability job on every play. Matt’s passion for the game is contagious. He plays with a smile on his face and brings positive energy to the team,” said Litton.

Sapienza’s hard work and dedication to the sport has earned him The Phillipian’s accolade of Athlete of the Week.

When did you start playing football and what was the first team you played on?

I started playing football in seventh grade, three years ago. It was the first time I ever played tackle football. I played on the team for my local middle, North Andover Middle School.

What is your position on the varsity team and what do those positions do?

I play wide receiver on offense and cornerback. On offense, a wide receiver essentially catches throws from the quarterback and get past the defenders to score. On defense, a cornerback covers receivers and tackles.

What’s do you think is your greatest personal achievement in the world of football?

I feel like my greatest achievement was in seventh grade, when I went to the championship for the first time in our league. Seeing as it was my first year of football, it was really cool and awesome to end my first season ever as number one.

What do you like the most about wide receiver or cornerback?

I like catching the ball, especially when [Co-Captain] Michael Thompson [’20] is playing quarterback, because I know that he will be able to get me the ball whenever I am on the field.

What do you do when you’re tired and just can’t come off?

I know that my teammates always have my back and can help if I need it. At the same time, I always try my hardest no matter how fatigued I am. I’d rather give it my all instead of slacking, even though I know I could be doing a lot more.

How do you make your team better?

I push my team to strive for 110 percent in every game and even in every practice. I try to make sure that no matter what is going on, and what the situation is, that they go to their limits, and then beyond that. I support my teammates to make everyone better as a whole and feel a lot more connected. A team that is connected and acts like a family is many times better than a team that is broken up.

How does your team make you better?

They support me and they help me out when I’m going through problems. When I don’t know how to do something, I know I can look up to the upperclassmen for advice and guidance. My team is always available to help me whenever I’m going through something rough. Team doesn’t just include my teammates though, it also includes my coaches too. I know that they always have my best interests in mind. I can always ask them for help. They’re like my family.

What are some of your weird quirks?

Before every game, I have the same routine. I wear the same clothes on in the same style. I just have the same way of composing myself before every game. I guess I think it gives me good luck on the field.

How were you introduced to football?

I was introduced to football through my dad. He played linebacker at Syracuse [University] and had a very good career until he blew out his knee versus Penn State during his [Junior] year and wasn’t able to play football again after that. My grandfather also played in the NFL for a bunch of years, too. Growing up, I would play football with my cousins every weekend and we were in a flag football league until I started to play tackle football in seventh grade.