Gridiron Classic: Do-It-All Mazzacco Set to Be Monmouth’s Swiss Army Knife
As the quarterback for the Shore Regional football team this past fall, Jamie Mazzacco became accustomed to deciding the game with the ball in his hands.
That may be the case again Wednesday night at Brick Township High School in the All-Shore Gridiron Classic, but Mazzacco has prepared himself to help the Monmouth County All-Star squad beat its Ocean County counterpart in any way possible – even if it’s with the ball in somebody else’s hands.
“It’s way different than playing at Shore, where I’m getting the ball almost every play,” Mazzacco said. “Here, I have already played four positions. I have been on the offensive side of the ball, defense, I have been kicking. It’s just fun playing that role. These coaches are all amazing coaches. Then know exactly where to put me and when to put me there, so it’ll be interesting to see.”
As a player capable of wearing many different hats across multiple sports -- he was also a standout in wrestling and lacrosse -- Mazzacco will come in handy for Middletown South head coach Steve Antonucci and his Monmouth County coaching staff. With five other quarterbacks originally on the roster and four still in the fold after one of the five dropped out, it was pretty clear early on – both to Mazzacco and Antonucci – that the coaching staff was going to deploy the versatile Shore representative at several spots outside of quarterback.
“We have thought about Mazzacco in goal-line packages, we have thought about him on offense and defense and where we can plug him in,” Antonucci said. “We had him playing the Y (receiver) and tight end the other day just to see if he can do it, and he can. He can play fullback. He can do anything. And there are a couple of those type of guys on this team.”
During his senior campaign, Mazzacco rushed for 1,642 yards – the second-highest mark in the entire Shore Conference – and a Shore-best 26 touchdowns while running Shore’s Delaware Wing-T offense. He also threw for 747 yards and four touchdowns, racked up a team-high 80 tackles to go with two interceptions, and also handled the kicking and punting duties for the 7-4 Blue Devils.
With one of the great all-around performances in the conference during 2021, Mazzacco was recognized as an All-Shore First-Team utility player by Shore Sports Network.
Even in producing an All-Shore season as a quarterback on offense, Mazzacco has welcomed any ideas his coaches have about where to play him, an they have had a lot of ideas.
“I was warming up the quarterback the other day and our (offensive coordinator) came up and said, ‘Do you want to play slot?’ I said, ‘Sure!’,” Mazzacco said. “I played slot for about two hours, woke up the next morning and someone else came to me and said, ‘Hey, you’re playing linebacker now.’ I said ‘Okay, great!’ It’s been a ride.”
Mazzacco will don a blue jersey one last time with Shore teammates Rylan Fegan and Liam Rosa after getting the Blue Devils to the semifinals of the South Jersey Group I Playoffs.
“Our jerseys are royal blue, so it’s fitting,” Mazzacco said. “My quarterbacks coach from school has been telling me what a great experience this is and I’m just excited. It’s been so much fun at practice with these guys and I can’t wait to get out on the field for the game on Wednesday night.”
Whether he is a lead blocker, running routes out of several positions, shadowing running backs and tight ends at linebacker or kicking field goals and extra points, Mazzacco is ready to do a little bit of everything one last time.
“If the ball is in my hands, great,” Mazzacco said. “If it isn’t, the other 10 guys on the field are just as important. If I’m making the key block, that’s it. That’s the job. The ball doesn’t have to be in your hands to make a difference.”