Tiger defender earns top honors at Yankee Stadium
The 2015 Fort Hamilton Varsity Football Tigers (10-3) fell short of the finals by just one game with a semi-final loss to Erasmus Hall to abruptly end a hopeful season for a shot at the PSAL championship at Yankee Stadium. However, the Tigers managed to send a well deserving team representative, Jayson Magnani, to the Bronx to be honored along with other PSAL standout players during a halftime ceremony of the December 6 Championship game.
Senior middle linebacker Magnani finished the season as the PSAL’s top defender accumulating 107 tackles over this year’s ten game regular season schedule. Leading his team to seven shutout wins, Magnani led Fort Hamilton to finish the regular season with a fifth place 8-2 record, the best that the Tigers have finished over the past five seasons.
“He’s one of our most mature players,” said Head Coach Dan Perez of co-captain Jayson Magnani. “He’s always been prepared mentally and physically,” stated Perez of his four-year varsity standout player. Citing Magnani’s dedication and work ethic, Coach Perez credits Magnani for the maturation of team’s junior players during the off-season to bring them up to a Varsity level of play.
“He was like a coach on the field,” said Fort Hamilton Defensive Coordinator Reggie Wilson. “He got our guys better just playing around him.” Adept at breaking down an opponent’s offensive tendencies, Magnani was invaluable in anticipating the opposition’s next play.
Magnani’s signature game occurred during this season’s quarterfinal playoff win over rival Lincoln. On a critical third and one, and on a subsequent fourth and inches on the Fort Hamilton one-yard line, Magnani set up the defensive line to stop Lincoln from scoring an impending insurance touchdown. Without any help from the bench, Magnani correctly anticipated Lincoln’s next two scoring attempts to force a turnover at the one-inch line in what turned out to be the turning point of the game for Fort Hamilton.
Surprised and pleased to win his award, Magnani stated, “I never thought about setting a record during the season, only giving my best effort for each game. That hard work paid off since now I’m considering scholarship offers to play college football.” Currently, a number of colleges have shown interest in the Tiger senior that include Maritime, Wagner, Stony Brook, Southern Connecticut State University, East Stroudsburg, Oberlin and AIC.
Noting that this award was well earned by a good student athlete, Tiger Head Coach Perez stated, “His four years went by so fast, I’m really going to miss him.”
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