SKOKIE —Senior linebacker Adam Pignato was thrilled to be back on the field for the Niles West football team.
“It was great to be out there with my teammates,” Pignato said. “We still have that chemistry.”
Pignato missed the first two games of the season with a broken foot and started in Niles West’s 53-7 victory over Maine East on Friday. The Wolves, who were up 40-0, pulled their starters at the end of the first quarter. While Pignato would have liked to play more minutes, he said winning is the most important thing.
Pignato had two tackles and a fumble recovery in Friday’s game, which was homecoming for Niles West. While he said it was fun to have a big crowd cheering the Wolves on, Pignato also emphasized that every game is equally important.
Coach Steve Baum was very excited to have Pignato back on the field.
“He’s our defensive leader, a three-year varsity starter and he’s the pulse of our defense,” Baum said.
Pignato’s younger brother, Jeremy Pignato, also plays for the Wolves.
“Adam’s my big brother, but he’s basically everyone else’s big brother, too,” Jeremy Pignato said. “He just has that leadership quality to him.”
Jeremy Pignato, a senior running back, said he’s learned a lot from playing beside his brother.
“He taught me to always just be the hardest working person out there and don’t take plays off,” he said.
While Adam Pignato had hoped to play in more of Friday’s game, he said he recognized how important it is for younger players to gain experience.
“We have to help out the ones that are coming up,” Adam Pignato said.
In addition to playing with his old friends, Adam Pignato said he enjoyed Friday’s game because he was able to get on the field with Niles West’s new players for the first time.
Niles West’s defensive coordinator, Bill Pistorius, said Adam Pignato’s priority is to always do what’s best for the team. Pistorius said Adam Pignato was disappointed he didn’t play in the team’s first two games, but that while he was sidelined Adam Pignato still did everything he could to help his teammates.
“He’s truly a team captain and he helps everyone around him get better on the field,” Pistorius said.
Pistorius also said Adam Pignato contributes not only as a leader, but also as a player.
“He’s gotten tremendously more athletic,” he said. “He runs laterally and he understands the game of football.”
Adam Pignato said his goal for this season is for the team to get past the first round of the playoffs. If they continue to play at the level they did Friday night, he thinks it’s attainable.
• After being shut out in their first game and winning their second by forfeit, the Maine East Blue Demons scored their first touchdown of the season with two minutes left in the first half on a 63-yard run by junior Woody Corey.
• The Blue Demons struggled with wet conditions, they fumbled the ball four times in the first half, turning it over twice. They also lost possession on a fumble with three minutes to play in the fourth quarter.
• Corey and senior Steve Youel split quarterback duties in the second half. A drive led by Corey took the entirety of the third quarter, but ended when Youel threw an interception in the end zone to start the fourth quarter.