Kept patiently waiting Sanzaro lives in limelight
Sam Tapper — Sports Writer
Waiting one’s turn is something taught to children, and something so simple, yet so hard to do in certain circumstances. However, Southern’s senior quarterback Matt Sanzaro did just that.
Sanzaro came to Southern from Wethersfield, Conn., and during his time there, Sanzaro earned several all-conference and allstate selections as well as an all-courant honoree, an accolade given to high school athletes in the Hartford area. For Sanzaro, football has been his passion “since birth.”
“I was kind of born into a football family,” said Sanzaro. “I fell in love with the game when I was young. I would say, as long as I can remember, I was into football. I just love the discipline you need; I love the team game.”
Sanzaro led his Wethersfield squad to an undefeated season and two conference championships. His older brother also played at Wethersfield, and eventually at Central Connecticut State University, but never saw much more than a .500 season. Sanzaro, however, said he was always confident that he could lead his town to the top.
“I told him when I was younger, ‘when I get to high school, it’s going to be the year’,” said Sanzaro about his brother. “I played with all my best friends; we just had a connection I’ve never really felt before.”
Things changed for Sanzaro once he arrived at Southern. He dealt with some injuries and was buried on the depth chart, and subsequently would end up redshirting his true freshman year. Once he suited up, he only saw time as the Owls’ holder.
Despite not taking a single snap under-center at the collegiate level, Sanzaro stuck with it and was named the Owls’ starting quarterback in 2018.
“He’s definitely been a guy who’s waited patiently for his turn,” said head coach Tom Godek. “There were some good quarterbacks here with him before; they were all talented guys, but you could see Matt was going to work his way in.”
Even though it is not easy for one to constantly wait for their turn on the sidelines, Sanzaro said he was never discouraged and saw each day as an opportunity to get better.
“I knew it was a process, I knew my time would come,” said Sanzaro. “I just had to wait on it – work as hard as I could in the weight room, studying film, studying the playbook and when it was my time, it was my time.”
When his time came in 2018, Sanzaro would go 65-124 passing on the year with 833 total passing yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions. Sanzaro would also collect 228 rushing yards with four rushing touchdowns.
“Matt’s definitely an athlete; he can definitely move when he needs to move,” said Owls offensive coordinator & quarterbacks coach Chris Bergeski, regarding Sanzaro’s game. “Even when we were recruiting him, we saw he had the ability to do some things on the run.”
Sanzaro will graduate in May with a degree in communications and business administration. Under the senior are five other quarterbacks, all underclassmen. Sanzaro says he wants to teach them all he can before he leaves.
“We’re like a little family, honestly,” said Sanzaro of the QB’s. “We all talk every single day; they’re all great kids. The one thing I harp on them is to find something every day to work on, and just get a little better at it each day.”
In that group of quarterbacks is sophomore Joe Bernard out of Nashua, N.H. Bernard is just one of those guys looking to learn all he can from Sanzaro.
“He’s a great guy; he’s very vocal,” said Bernard. “He holds each player accountable and he’s a guy to look up to for all positions on the team.” Sanzaro hasn’t been perfect, but Coach Godek
said that he does indeed have what it takes to be the leader at this level.
“You have to have that charisma, that makeup, to be a quarterback,” said Godek. “We can’t say enough about him, and we’re hoping that he continues to pass his abilities on to our younger guys and the chain keeps rolling in a positive manner.”
Photo credit: SOUTHERNCTOWLS.COM