Sports Person of the Week
Vigliotto Maneuvers His Way into Leading Role
Anthony Vigliotto plays on both the offensive and defensive line for the North Haven football squad. Anthony earned a spot as a senior captain thanks to his dedication to the program, along with becoming a stronger and more savvy player. (Photo courtesy of Anthony Vigliotto )
Anthony Vigliotto has transformed himself into quality two-way lineman for the North Haven High School football team. Although football won’t be played this fall, Anthony may get his chance to lead North Haven as a senior captain during a spring season in 2021.
Anthony and his teammates are currently in a holding pattern of participating in a version of 7-on-7 football at practice. The expectation is that there will be an opportunity to play full-contact, 11-on-11 football in the spring, when the COVID-19 pandemic could feasibly be less impactful. Anthony competes for the North Haven indoor track team in the winter and does outdoor track during the spring.
“Right now, we’re allowed to do on 7-on-7. The real season starts in the spring. We’re doing more short, fundamental-based practices,” says Anthony. “Right now, is the plan to play all three [sports]. If I saw football overlap more with track, I would shift to more track, since I already missed that season.”
Like many athletes around the state, Anthony faced his fair share of challenges throughout the recent preseason. Conditioning became a bigger issue than usual, but Anthony and his teammates found opportunities to work on other aspects of the game.
“In the summer, we would wake up at 5 in the morning and work out from 6 to 8. When COVID started, we worked out later and less. When the season was moved, we went from workouts to more mental-based practices,” Anthony says. “We kind of brought it all the way back to the basics. We focused on the details—what foot to step with, how your body should look when you’re doing it. Being there, it’s a very nice refresher. It shows you where the team is at form-wise.”
Anthony takes great pride in earning the title of senior captain. While the thought of a lost season was disappointing, Anthony took satisfaction in helping North Haven get back to basics as the team started preparing for a potential spring campaign.
“At first, I felt really bad that we wouldn’t play normal schedule. As time went on, and we learned we were playing the spring, it felt really good to focus on the little things and be known for that, instead of just hooting and hollering during the games,” Anthony says. “I feel like it’s the reward after all the work. After putting in all the years of practicing and working day and night, it feels like the prize at the end.”
Anthony has a relatively smaller build for a lineman. However, he’s able to use his superior maneuverability to excel in the trenches.
“I’m pretty small. I try to outmaneuver my opponent by using a rip-through to get past them,” says Anthony. “I feel like after playing line so long, that’s where I would want to stay, specifically the offensive line. The scheme is built around working harder and not necessarily being the bigger guy.”
Head Coach Anthony Sagnella has seen Anthony grow from a JV player into a senior captain and a starting lineman. Coach Sagnella even remembers seeing Anthony on the sidelines watching practices before Anthony ever donned a North Haven uniform.
“Anthony’s a two-way lineman who’s a little bit undersized, but he makes up for it. On our defensive side of the ball, we’ve gotten away with smaller guys that can run well, are tough, and play very hard. Anthony fits that mold. On offense, he’s a pulling guard, basically. He’s sort of like a fullback as a blocker,” says Sagnella. “Anthony was a backup his junior year, but his practice habits, attendance, and attitude has put him at the top of the list in terms of getting respect from his teammates. He’s always been that way. I remember seeing this skinny kid on the bleachers watching us. It’s in his blood.”
In the end, Anthony feels happy that he still has a chance to be a major contributor for North Haven in his senior season. Anthony knows that his football career is most likely coming to close after high school, so he definitely doesn’t want to miss out on his final go-round. Anthony may pursue track at the collegiate level, but he’s mostly focused on what’s available to him in terms of coursework.
“After high school, I’m pretty much done. That’s why it hit hard that the season was getting moved around and all that. As of now, it’s set on happening. They just have to figure out dates,” Anthony says. “I’m more open to do track in college than football, but I want to focus more on academics than athletics.”