With his parents and grandparents smiling proudly, Wayne Hills High senior Mike Zaccone made it official. He’ll attend Hobart and William Smith Colleges, in Geneva, New York, and continue playing football.
Zaccone, a standout two-way player at Hills who helped lead the Patriots to back-to-back state championship games in 2015 and 2016, including a title two years ago, was joined by his family at Hills’ official signing day, on Feb. 9. Zaccone was clearly relieved he had committed to Hobart.
Mike Zaccone in front of a locker at Hobart. (Click on photo for larger image)
“No question, it’s the right place for me,” said Zaccone, a team captain last fall. “The recruiting process was certainly interesting and a little stressful. I learned a lot, for sure. With Hobart, they had reached out to me at school last year, and the coach there was really good to speak with. I felt comfortable during the entire process, and when I made my official visit two weeks ago, I knew the moment I walked onto the campus that this was the place for me.”
Zaccone was one of five captains for Wayne Hills, which finished 7-4 in 2017 and advanced to the sectional semifinals. Two other captains from that team, Jason Modak and Dario Sirni, joined Zaccone in making their college choices official. Modak, a star lineman, will play football at the College of the Holy Cross, in Worcester, Mass., while Sirni, the team’s reliable kicker, is headed to Montclair State, where he’ll play lacrosse.
Left to right, Wayne Hills head football coach Wayne Demikoff, Jason Modak, Mike Zaccone, Dario Sirni and assistant coach Mike Zaccone. (Click on photo for larger image)
“It was special being with Jason and Dario when we all made it official,” said Zaccone. “I grew up with those guys, and it will seem strange when we all go our separate ways after graduation. But right now, it will be nice to enjoy the rest of high school with my friends.”
Zaccone and Modak both plan to play baseball this spring for the Patriots.
Hobart had an excellent football season last fall, finishing 7-3. An NCAA, Division 3 school, the Statesmen play in the Liberty League. The school also has an excellent academic reputation and Zaccone, a very good student, is excited about that, as well.
“I plan to major in business, but I’m not sure what curriculum, yet,” said Zaccone. “Every student at Hobart has to have a major and a minor. I’ll figure that out as I get closer to starting school.”
Zaccone is expected to play inside linebacker at Hobart. Between now and the start of practice this summer, he plans to work on his speed and agility, while also continuing weight training, which has always been synonymous with Wayne Hills football.
Wayne Hills coach Wayne Demikoff was pleased that Zaccone chose Hobart.
“Mike will do well at Hobart,” said Demikoff. “It’s a good level of football, with a tremendous education. I’m really happy for Mike, and his entire family.”
Zaccone set the school record for tackles in a season last fall, with 111, while also picking off three passes. In 2016, he suffered a broken leg in the first round of the NJSIAA playoffs, but was able to come back two weeks later and helped the Patriots edge Wayne Valley, 31-24, in a thrilling state final, at MetLife Stadium.
Zaccone is the eldest of three children, born to Jodi and Michael Zaccone, Sr.. The elder Mike Zaccone has served as an assistant football coach at Hills since 2012, and is also a Wayne police officer.