Gaetano Famiglietti is truly a student of the game.
When not in class or the weight room, the bruising middle linebacker can be found watching game film on Glen Cove football’s next opponent.
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“He’ll pretty much know the other team’s scheme before our coaches do,” coach Pete Kopecky said. “He watches film endlessly. He can diagnose a play when it begins.”Past Piner Award winners
It’s this commitment and intelligence that led to Famiglietti winning the Bill Piner Award as Nassau’s best linebacker. Bethpage’s Anthony Sforza and MacArthur’s Michael Rothberg were the other finalists.
Famiglietti capitalized time after time on his studies this season, ruining plenty of offensive plays with tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
Kopecky recalled a few plays Famiglietti made in the Nassau Class III semifinal against Bethpage. In the 21-0 win, Famiglietti twice overpowered lead blockers, guiding them into the ball carrier and knocking him over for a tackle.
“I don’t really like that very much,” Famiglietti said, laughing.
“What I like to do is hit the blocker, not avoid him,” he added. “I like to just lower my shoulder and hit him.”
The 5-9, 225-pound bruiser is “stocky as a bulldog,” according to Kopecky. He made 13.5 tackles, three of which were for a loss, against Bethpage in the semifinal, putting an exclamation point on what was a consistently strong season.
Middle linebacker wasn’t the only position where Famiglietti found success. He was a guard on the offensive line, hence his near expert-level understanding of blocking schemes and o-line tendencies.
He was even a kicker when Glen Cove’s usual option suffered a concussion during the season.
“He’s just that type of athlete,” Kopecky said.
The two-year captain was considered the quarterback of the defense, setting both the defensive front and defensive backfield based on the things he saw from the offensive sets.
Glen Cove finished 8-3 after a 56-34 loss to Plainedge in the Nassau Class III championship game.
“It was the best season of my life with the group of guys that we had and the success we had,” he said. “I couldn’t ask for anything else.”