NAUGATUCK — Last spring, Naugatuck High’s Zack Koslosky was limited in his practice time during the Greyhounds’ 10 days of workouts because of his outdoor track season.
The 110- and 300-yard hurdler and pole vaulter was finishing up his sophomore season in track and saw no varsity time with the Greyhounds’ football squad in 2016, although he played four junior varsity games.
But an interesting thing came about during the summer when Koslosky caught the eye of first-year head coach Dave Sollazzo, offensive coordinator Ollie Gray, defensive coordinator Kevin Cretella and special teams and receiver/secondary coach Brendan McWeeney.
“Zack came out of nowhere to be an impact player for us,” Sollazzo said. “He does everything well on offense, defense and special teams.”
“Zack’s effort is second to none, through every rep or drill in practice to every weightlifting session or game,” McWeeney added. “That is why he is special. He gets better every single day.”
In the Greyhounds’ 38-0 win over Waterbury Career Academy on Nov. 11, Koslosky caught a 38-yard TD pass from Mike Plasky, booted a 21-yard field goal and set up another score with a 21-yard punt return as the Greyhounds improved to 9-0 for the first time since 2001 when they went 10-0 and captured the NVL title by beating Ansonia on Thanksgiving Day.
Gray, who previously coached at Crosby and Sacred Heart, and also is the Kennedy track coach, said that the 6-foot Koslosky has all of the intangibles you are looking for in a playmaker — good hands, quick feet and smart instincts.
“Zack is also very focused on what he needs to do and that separates him from others,” Gray said.
Defensively, teammate Michael Natkiel, who’s in his second season as the starting middle linebacker, said that Koslosky’s presence behind him at safety makes him feel very secure.
“Zack makes it so much easier for me to make a play,” said Natkiel. “We all know that the secondary players are going to do their job and that helps the entire defense.”
Koslosky, who caught two TDs in the season-opening 35-20 win over Derby and had an 80-yard punt return for a score in a 31-12 win over Seymour in Week 2, credits cross-training and track for his football success this fall.
“I was in great shape over the summer and ready to perform to the best of my abilities,” Koslosky said. “Being a track athlete has definitely made a big difference in my conditioning, strength and overall agility. My pass route running in football is probably the best part of my game, something that take a lot of pride in. Mike Plasky (Naugy’s QB) has been a big help for us. He can scramble, he can pass and he even blocks really well down field for all of us. He’s the true leader of our team.”
So is Koslosky.
“I have stepped up, but my guess is that a lot of my teammates have stepped up, too,” Koslosky said.