If you’re searching for the best way to describe the massive impact linebacker Bryan Aguilar had on the Oceanside defensive unit in 2017, coach Rob Blount has the answer.
“Bryan was the straw that stirred the drink on defense,” Blount said. “He was our [former Yankee] Reggie Jackson. He’s probably one of the most selfless people I’ve ever coached. He still doesn’t realize how good he really is.”
During his time as a standout Sailor, a distinct tenacity brought to the table every game proved to be the defining factor for Aguilar. The inspiration to compete with the intensity that separated Aguilar amongst his peers was received at the age of 9, immediately after getting his first glimpse at one of the greatest to ever man the position.
“I idolized [former Baltimore Raven] Ray Lewis,” Aguilar said. “I always watched him and he was very good. He was just very intense, downhill, an animal. I wanted to play like him.”
Aguilar’s best Lewis impression on the field didn’t go unnoticed this season because he became the first Oceanside player to ever win the Piner Award (given to Nassau’s top linebacker) Wednesday night at the 52nd Annual Gridiron Banquet presented by the Nassau County High School Football Coaches Association at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury.
Facing previously defending Long Island Class I champion Freeport in the Nassau I final on Nov. 18, the senior’s six tackles, two sacks and forced fumble were pivotal in a 17-0 victory, earning Oceanside its first county title since 1977.
“Knowing I played a key role in winning it this season was a great feeling,” Aguilar said.
The performance was simply more of the same for Aguilar, who solidified himself as the foundation of the Sailors’ defense throughout the season, tallying totals of 96 tackles (13 for losses), nine sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
“He’s a throwback, old school linebacker,” Blount said. “I think the best thing about him is that he’s one of the true linebackers of the last few years. He’s a mixture of everything — power, downhill, chase you down from the outside. He’s the one guy that could do it all.”
In other words, the straw that stirred the drink on defense.