The scariest thing about Evan Kappatos - the imposing middle linebacker from Syosset - is that he's probably going to get even better.
That's because Kappatos, a junior who finished with 115 tackles and three sacks in 10 games, is now a certified veteran in the Nassau County football awards circuit.
Kappatos took home the Piner Award, the prize given to the county's most outstanding linebacker, for the second year in a row last night at the Nassau Gridiron Banquet at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury.
"It's amazing . . . pretty great to win it twice," Kappatos said. "There's really good competition out there, so anyone could have won."
Kappatos, a potent mixture of strength, size and speed, became the first sophomore to win the award last year and, though Syosset fell in the first round of the playoffs, amassed 12 more tackles than that groundbreaking season. All three of his sacks came in two games against East Meadow.
"He's a tremendous influence to the team," said Syosset coach Paul Rorke, who added that Kappatos has emerged as something of a leader as he's matured. "He sets the tone for the defense. He gets off blocks and he finished the tackles."
At 6-1, 235 pounds, "he really stands out," Rorke said. "He has these great physical tools and he's a tremendous presence on the field."
Though he hasn't made too many adjustments from last year's game, Kappatos said that his strengths "come from the fact that I can move quickly in relation to my size and that I have a pretty good idea where the ball is going."
Building off that has just meant "nothing more than practicing, over and over," he said.
"Coach Rorke, the linebacker practices, all the coaches that helped us out collectively," Kappatos said, enumerating the various ways the Braves have helped him grow as a football player. "Everyone pushes everyone towards practice. It's a collective effort."
One that's paid dividends for two years running.