Michael Scibelli proved why people call him “The Big Cat” this season.
Scibelli is indeed big, as the Oceanside offensive and defensive lineman is 6-3 and 300 pounds. But he is also quick, as he showed during the Sailors’ county-title winning performance, where he racked up two sacks and three tackles for a loss.
Performances like this earned him the Martone Award for top lineman in Nassau County, which he received Wednesday evening.
“As linemen, we have a saying: ‘overworked, underappreciated,’ so it feels great to be recognized,” Scibelli said.
“The great thing about him is that he’s a two-way player,” coach Rob Blount said. “He never leaves the field. He’s a key cog that takes care of the quarterback and he makes space for our linebackers to make plays.”
Scibelli also makes plenty of plays himself, and that was evident in Oceanside’s 17-0 win over Freeport in the county championship, a game in which he made seven tackles. Blount said that will be the game he remembers most when he thinks about Scibelli.
“They could not physically block him. He showed what kind of player he is,” Blount said. It’s by far the best defensive performance I’ve seen in my nine years as the head coach at Oceanside.”
“That’s probably my favorite game I’ve played,” Scibelli said. “I wanted to do it for my teammates. I told them before the game I’d do anything for them. It felt great to play for them and make a statement like that.”
It was a fitting end to his time with the program, which began when he was a 10-year-old waterboy for the Sailorsand his brother Jason was Oceanside’s right tackle.
“I was never into football until then,” Scibelli said. “That made me want to play. It’s great to say I was part of the program for all these years. It’s a great experience to see how much I’ve grown.”
“It’s like a Disney story,” Blount said. “He was the water boy, watching his brother play and then he goes on to be one of the top players in the program himself.”
The coach added that Scibelli has grown into a leader.
“He’s taken younger players under his wing, teaching them what he’s learned from others before,” Blount said. “He keeps guys loose in practice. He’s a serious player, but he keeps it fun and keeps it relaxed and that’s a special attribute.”