ZS: What role do you envision on this year’s squad and what’s the preparation process been like?
NS: I am looking forward to being a focal point on offense and playing safety on defense. As for getting ready, I train five days a week. I’m running, lifting and working on ball skills. I train with Matt Deiana three days a week, two days at the high school.
ZS: With a senior-laden backfield last season, you had a lot of sources to guide you through the rookie campaign. What kind of principles did last year’s captains instill and how does it carry over into this season?
NS: Playing behind those guys last year and learning from them was an awesome experience for a sophomore.
Their work ethic and determination is what I have learned and gained from them. Being around Eric Meyreles all the time, on and off the field, was a learning experience. I hope have the same impact next year for incoming sophomores.
ZS: Beginning with the Panas game, when you got your first touches, up until the homecoming game (42-14 win) against Cameron Ciero-led Horace Greeley, you displayed flashes. Of course, the road that followed was rocky with a few injuries. What’s the recovery process been like and how has it affected you?
NS: Playing with a torn labrum last year was difficult, but that is the past. I am fully healthy and looking forward to this football season. I had my shoulder repaired and I was given a clean bill of health on May 19th to resume all activities and I have been working hard and haven't looked back since. It's in the rearview mirror now.
ZS: You hail from a football family that’s churned out a number of gamers. The Santavicca name is now synonymous with program history. Being a legacy, do you feel any pressure? What are the advantages?
NS: There is no pressure at all. From my Dad (Roger Santavicca) being a coach here, my uncle (Ron Santavccia) being a former head coach and winning two state titles for this program, both of my cousins (Paul and Anthony Santavicca) being great athletes, there has been nothing but support. When we sit and talk about football, everyone sort of chimes in and gives me pointers to help me on my path.
ZS: What’s the identity of this year’s squad?
NS: The identity of our team is family. Coach (Mike Rescingo) always puts emphasis on that.
We preach family because we all work for each other. We go out there and play for one another, it has never been about I.
We as a group are looking towards working and achieving a Section championship, which we have not done in a while. That is our ultimate goal and identity of this team.
ZS: What’s the smash-mouth mentality like entering the season, and how do you whet your appetite for destruction and desire for success?
NS: Going out and hitting someone is an everyday occurrence for me and that is all I think about. Being hungry is something that never leaves. You should never be satisfied, there is always something that you should strive for and never, ever give up. I hope to make every touch count for this season and especially for my team.
ZS: You guys made your money off speed last season. A blend of speed from the halfbacks and power/aggression from the fullbacks was visible throughout...Should we expect much of the same?
NS: You should expect the same from us and a little more (Ryan) Baker throwing the ball.
ZS: How do you describe your style and make-up as a back in this offense? What’s your most effective way of moving the ball up the field and sustaining the punishment?
NS: Speed, agility and power. I am not afraid to lower my shoulder but I must tell you, I enjoy leaving someone standing still with a move.
I think being low to the ground works to my advantage. It helps me get tough yards. But I’ll do whatever I need to do to get the job done.
ZS: How do you assess the schedule this season? Week II (Somers) seems like it’s going to have some extra juice, if I had to guess.
NS: The schedule for this season is similar to last years. Every game is most important to us, they are all going to be tough.
We will approach each game as a game we need to win. Week 2 is more special to me, personally because of Uncle Tony (Coach DeMatteo) and our relationship to one another.
As for us as a team, we will be prepared and ready for everything. This is something we all look forward to but of course, "Eastchester comes first."
ZS: Coach DeMatteo is actually your uncle?
NS: The Santaviccas and the DeMatteos are family.
ZS: Favorite place to eat in town?
NS: Would have to be Maria’s Pizza.
ZS: Favorite football movie?
NS: I would have to lean towards Friday Night Lights but Remember The Titans and Radio are great movies as well.
ZS: Funniest teammate?
NS: Would have to be Christian Farda.