WALLINGFORD – Stephen Zenisky was a physical force on Sheehan’s defensive and offensive lines for the last two season and, for his efforts, the senior has been named the SCC Tier 3 Player of the Year.
Zenisky finished with 68 total tackles, two sacks and 11 tackles for a loss, but the numbers don’t begin to tell the full story of what the six-foot, 275-pounder meant to the Titans.
“I try to dominate the person in front of me,” Zenisky said. “I just like hitting people. I like tackling people. I like getting off blocks and hitting the other person in the chest. There’s no better feeling than putting another person on the ground when they don’t want to be there.”
Zenisky wasn't always a physical presence on the line. Sheehan coach John Ferrazzi has seen Zenisky double in size since entering his program four years ago.
”He’s had as good of a season as almost any lineman that has played here in my years here,” said Ferrazzi, who just completed his 13th season. “The work he has put in in the weight room and how he has developed his body has been remarkable. He went from 135-pound freshman to a 270-pound senior. In my time here, he’s the strongest player we have had overall when it comes to weight room numbers.
”He’s an athlete for a kid his size as well. He’s just a really good football player. On top of that, he’s so coachable and wants to do whatever he can to get better. He’s been a joy to coach and loves the game. He loves his teammates.”
Zenisky was a two-year starter on both lines. On offense, he mainly was slotted at left tackle. On defense, he was capable of playing every spot on the defensive line.
”He was equally valuable on both sides,” Ferrazzi said. “He was head and shoulders our most consistent offensive and defensive lineman.”
Zenisky is the second straight Sheehan Titan to be named SCC Tier 3 player of the year after Zach Davis collected the award last season. He also gave Wallingford a sweep of the major Tier 3 awards. Lyman Hall’s Bill Weyrauch was named Coach of the Year.
”It means a lot to me," Zenisky said of his award. “It shows that homework really pays off. It shows that linemen are important in the game of football. I wanted to be an example for the younger players and play as best as I could this season.”
Zenisky said he ramped up his workouts last December. He said he wanted to out-work the other linemen around the state in the weight room.
Zenisky started playing football at age 8 with the Wallingford Vikings. Once he got to Sheehan, he wanted to excel.
”One day I woke up and I set a goal for myself,” Zenisky said. “I didn’t want to get pushed around. I had dreamed of being a Sheehan Titan and winning games on Thanksgiving since I was in Vikings. I’ve just stayed on the path and worked my tail off every day.”
Results came over the long haul. Zenisky’s freshman team won zero games in the fall of 2014. This season, the Titans went 9-1 and returned to the state playoffs for the first time since 1995.
“To go from that to where we are now, going 9-1 in the regular season and making the playoffs for the first time in 22 years, it feels good,” Zenisky said. “You want to leave a mark and you want to be remembered.
“I think we left a great legacy,” he added. “We showed this year if you have the guys and buy into Coach Ferrazzi’s plan, the Sheehan Titans are going to be a team to reckoned with, and we will be for years to come.”
Zenisky was one of seven All-SCC players selected from Sheehan. The others were Will and Wes Terzi, Evan Mansfield, Terrance Bogan, Jordan Davis and Luke Willette.
Zenisky said his football days aren’t over. He expects to play at the next level and is mulling over his options.