Naugatuck’s Zach of all trades

Naugatuck’s Zach Koslosky (9) leads the Greyhounds in receiving this year with eight catches for 184 yards and four touchdowns, and plays a pivotal role on defense and special teams. The senior is 41-for-52 on extra points and 1-for-3 on field goals this season. He’s also blocked four punts and made 27 tackles. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

NAUGATUCK — Naugatuck senior Zach Koslosky does a lot of things on the football field, and he does them well.

Whether it’s kicking field goals, catching touchdowns or breaking up passes in the secondary, it seems that every time the Greyhounds need to come up with a big play Koslosky is in the middle of the action.

In simple terms, he is a playmaker.

“We talk about the four phases of football: offense, defense, special teams and the scout team,” Naugatuck head coach Dave Sollazzo says. “The scout team helps to prepare the starters to play at their very best. It’s often an overlooked part of the process, but to us it’s a big reason for our success.”

“As far as offense, defense and special teams,” Sollazzo continues, “Kos is the type player that goes out there and makes things happen no matter what position he’s playing. He’s a playmaker in all three phases.”

The results on the field back that up.

In a 53-12 win over St. Paul on Sept. 21, Koslosky kicked four extra points and a 32-yard field goal, caught a 49-yard touchdown pass, blocked two punts and scored a safety.

“I just enjoy playing the game of football,” Koslosky says. “Doesn’t really matter to me if its offense, defense or special teams. When I’m out on the field I want to make the plays that are going to make a difference.”

This season, Koslosky is 41-for-52 on extra points and 1-for-3 on field goals. He’s blocked four punts on special teams and made 27 tackles on defense.

On offense, he is the Greyhounds’ leading receiver with eight catches for 184 yards and four touchdowns this year. Last season, he led the team with 19 receptions for 368 yards and nine touchdowns.

Koslosky also embraces the role as a down-field blocker to help spring the Greyhounds’ stable of running backs for long gains.

“We work on every phase of the game every day in practice,” Koslosky says. “That’s why we have had the success we’ve had in all the phases of the game, because we work at it every day to get better.”

The kicker/wide receiver/safety affects many areas of the game with his game-changing abilities, which were on display during Naugatuck’s stiffest test of the season to date — a come-from-behind 28-26 win over Seymour on Nov. 1.

With 9 minutes to play, Seymour took a 26-21 lead and it was Koslosky that made the tackle to stop the two-point conversion attempt and keep the deficit at five points.

After a Naugatuck fumble with about 7 minutes to play, Koslosky stripped Seymour quarterback Ian Sadick and Naugy’s Mike Amankwa recovered the fumble.

That set up the game-winning touchdown drive as quarterback Jay Mezzo hit Elijah Robinson for a 24-yard touchdown with 6:16 remaining. Koslosky booted his fourth extra point of the game to secure a 28-26 advantage.

On the final drive of the game, Seymour drove to the Naugy 12 yard line, but the Greyhounds’ defense held firm, and Koslosky broke up the final two passes to preserve the victory.

“Everyone played a great game defensively,” Koslosky, who also caught a 9-yard touchdown pass in the waning seconds of the first half, told the Republican-American after the game. “It just wasn’t me. This is a great confidence boost for all of us.”

The win helped preserve the Greyhounds’ undefeated season, and Naugatuck and Ansonia both enter the annual Thanksgiving game 9-0 for the second straight year.

Ansonia has dominated this series lately, winning 26 of the last 28 games, including a 46-28 win last season. With a roster of playmakers like Koslosky and another year on the Naugatuck sidelines under his belt, Sollazzo feels the Greyhounds are better prepared this season.

“Last year, Ansonia was just better than we were,” Sollazzo says. “I just got hired, and we were assembling the coaching staff and putting in a new system. We were behind the curve. This year, we are much more prepared and it shows the way we played this season.”

Editor’s note: This article appears in the Citizen’s News’ special Thanksgiving football section published Nov. 22, 2018.