Matt Weiss doesn’t speak much. Longwood’s two-way senior tackle really doesn’t need to do much talking. He lets his play make a statement.
When teammates were getting hyped on game day, Weiss preferred a different motivation for his pregame. While teammates listened to rap, he allowed himself a few moments to reflect on family, specifically his aunt, Kristy Weiss, who died of ovarian cancer on Nov. 29, 2013.
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“I listen to her song before every game outside the locker room,” Weiss said. “The guys get into their own thing and I take nothing away from them, that’s their enjoyment. But I go to a different place to get fired up.”Past Zellner Award winners
Weiss sits and listens to ‘‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’’ by the late Israel ‘‘IZ’’ Kamakawiwo’ole.
“He finds great motivation in her battle against cancer,” said his father, Fred Weiss. “And everyone respects his privacy. It’s fairly intimidating that such a soft, emotional song can set off the beast in him.”
Weiss became the first two-time winner of the Bob Zellner Award as Suffolk’s most outstanding lineman Monday night at the Suffolk County Football Coaches Association dinner in Hauppauge.
“He just dominated our opponents,” coach Jeff Cipp said. “He’s a quiet, well-liked kid, but he turns that switch when he’s on the field. We ran most of our offense right behind him.”
The 6-1, 272-pound Weiss led the way as Longwood’s offensive line paved the way to the Long Island Class I title. The Lions set the record for yards rushing in a championship game with 555 in a 47-28 win over previously undefeated Farmingdale.
“We take a lot of pride in running the ball,” Weiss said. “And I love it when we knock people down and our guys run for a score. It’s a great feeling.”
It was not uncommon for Weiss to level the defender in front of him and then get after the linebackers. “He was relentless,” Cipp said.
Weiss was a fierce competitor, opening huge holes for speedy halfbacks Khalil Owens and Tajh Clark to run into the secondary. In power packages, Weiss and Anthony Lavio would help fullbacks Latrell Horton and Mike Scalice get into the second level and run over opponents.
“When we all followed our assignments, it was game over,” Weiss said. “And we played with a big chip on our shoulders after losing in last year’s playoffs.”
Now Weiss waits for the right college offer.
“I’m sure opportunities will open up for him,” said Hans Weiderkehr, the president of the Suffolk Football Coaches Association. “He’s one of the very best.”