Tyler Pedersen built a reputation as more than just a bruising lineman on either side of the ball for the Northport football team.
The senior always made assuming a leadership role a top priority.
“He’s as good as it gets,” Northport coach Pat Campbell said. “People are drawn to his personality. He’s a very welcoming guy and he always makes himself available to people.”
The team-oriented Pedersen, an offensive and defensive tackle, was named the winner of the Bob Zellner Award — honoring the top lineman in Suffolk — at the county awards dinner Monday night at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Hauppauge.
While many two-way linemen may emphasize racking up tackles, Pedersen said he takes greater pride in his offensive line contributions.
“I definitely prefer playing offensive line,” he said. “I like imposing my will on my opponents. There’s nothing else like it.”
Campbell highlighted the qualities that made Pedersen the premier lineman in the county.
“He’s got a really high motor,” he said. “You watch him on offense, he’s very physical and he finishes blocks at the second level. If you watch him on tape driving people downfield, his feet never really stop moving. He puts his chest on people and runs through contact. He’s a very strong finisher.”
On defense, the 6-3, 275-pound Pedersen displayed numerous flashes of dominance in 2018. He recorded 38 tackles, including 10 for a loss, for a Tigers squad that finished 6-3.
“He’s really hard to move at his size,” Campbell said. “You’ll see him making tackles while he’s being blocked because he doesn’t get moved. Someone could push on him and he’ll still make a tackle.”
Campbell detailed how Pedersen has continued to extend his availability even after the senior’s playing days at Northport ended with a playoff loss.
“He’s played such a huge role and he’s what we call a program kid,” Campbell said. “He’s always been a hard worker and an all-season guy. He’s constantly present in the weight room. Even now when the season is over, he’s working with freshmen in there. He’s that kind of kid. He’s there all the time, and the work he put in in the offseason really paid off for him this year.”
Pedersen said he’s always delighted to give back.
“It’s just something I’ve always really enjoyed doing,” he said. “I really want to be able to help out the younger players and the program moving forward.”
Past Zellner Award winners
2018 – Tyler Pedersen, Northport
2017 – Dan Carroll, Sachem East
2016 – Ethan Wiederkehr, Shoreham-Wading River
2015 – Matt Weiss, Longwood
2014 – Matt Weiss, Longwood
2013 – Bobby Heywood, East Islip and Sean Christie, Patchogue-Medford
2012 – Steven Mills, Sachem North
2011 - Darius Greene, Longwood
2010 - James Walsh, Floyd
2009 - Kevin Hauter, Floyd
2008 - Tom Lindley, Floyd
2007 - Jordany Diejuste, Patchogue-Medford
2006 - Andrew Tiller, Central Islip
2005 - Will Strano, Bellport
2004 - Chris Pugliese, Patchogue-Medford
2003 - Mike Heigh, Riverhead
2002 - Mike Gervasio, Lindenhurst
2001 - Matt Speis, Patchogue-Medford
2000 - Peter Martocci, Sayville
1999 - Mike McGrorty, West Babylon
1998 - Jesse O'Neill, Amityville
1997 - Justin Stark, North Babylon
1996 - Henson Harrison, North Babylon
1995 - Adam Grace, Kings Park
1994 - Adam Brown, Deer Park
1993 - Mark Dantuono, Northport
1992 - Terry Mueller, Lindenhurst
1991 - Tucker Grace, Kings Park
1990 - Peter Maiello, Sachem
1989 - Tom Dolan, Sayville
1988 - Mark Zumpol, Patchogue-Medford
1987 - Frank Mallia, Bellport
1986 - Roy Barker, Central Islip
1985 - Mike Hayes, West Islip
1984 - Willy Huff, Bay Shore
1983 - Mike Farley, Sachem
1982 - Ted Gregory, East Islip
1981 - Scott Hackal, Riverhead