By Gene Nardi
Wellington High School senior running back Matt Sabatino has been preparing for his final season as a Wolverine.
Sabatino has been training vigorously throughout the summer, attending camps and hitting the weight room daily. The 6-foot, 190-pound Sabatino committed to making his body stronger after a near-career-ending ACL injury that put him on the sideline nearly his entire sophomore year.
In his second game as a Wolverine, after transferring from Palm Beach Central, he tried to make a block after an interception and went down. “I planted wrong, when I tried to change direction, I heard a pop and went down,” Sabatino recalled. “It came to an end just like that.”
Sabatino’s injury required immediate surgery. Concerned about being able to return to the gridiron, he immediately began rehabilitation, and after nearly nine months of therapy, he was able to run again.
His injury put things in perspective — in one wrong moment, it can all end. This has served as motivation for him to continue his quest to pursue a college scholarship to play football.
Sabatino’s statistics at a glance may not seem impressive, but with a struggling Wolverine offense last season, he made plenty of waves. Sabatino made up half of the Wolverines’ rushing scores last year. He helped lead the Wolverines to an undefeated 3-0 start last season, making Palm Beach County’s Top 10.
Sabatino recalls his highlight of the season when he had a 46-yard touchdown run against Seminole Ridge, where he broke several tackles and took off for the end zone.
Sabatino attributes his speed to joining the track team last year, and he plans to run track again as a senior. “It has really helped me with my speed,” he said. “Coach [Oscar] Robinson has worked with me, and it has been great,” he added, referring to the WHS boys track coach.
You can still find Sabatino in the gym, where he currently has a max bench press of 300 pounds and a squat of 430 pounds. He hopes to be a contributor on the field this fall and will most likely play both offense and defense. He is experienced at free-safety, and with his speed, he could help the Wolverines defensively.
Sabatino keeps his focus on the importance of education as well, maintaining a 3.5 GPA. He’s undecided on what he would like to study in college, but one thing is clear — he wants to be playing college football.
With one more season to record in his senior year, Sabatino certainly has demonstrated perseverance, passion and commitment, on and off the field.
ABOVE: Matt Sabatino works out in the gym during a summer training session.