By Alex Clark ’20
For defensive end and offensive lineman Hayden Laccabue ’19, Bellarmine has become the cornerstone of his football career. When he first began playing freshman football at Bellarmine, however, he ran into an obstacle. “When I first started playing, I didn’t like it very much, because I didn’t know how to properly hit,” he said.
Despite this, his love for the game persisted and Hayden continued improving his game. That work eventually paid off during sophomore year when he began to blossom on the football field. “I finally learned how to hit in my second year, and after that, it became a dream of mine to play football at the next level, in college,” he said.
Hayden’s play on the field was not the only thing that grew during his time at Bellarmine. He made significant progress in his work off the field, in practice, and in the weight room, all playing an equal role in his development as a player.
“Throughout my four years here, I really learned how to work out properly. I learned how to work out harder but also through the pain. I think that was pivotal for my development as a football player,” he said.
While his work in the weight room was a large factor in his development, Hayden credits his coaches for his refining his game. “Coach Amarillas and Coach Henry, who were my position coaches played the biggest role in my development as a player. Both of them helped me become the player that I am today, and have helped me master my position,” he said.
Hayden has already accepted a scholarship from USD to continue playing as a defensive end and offensive lineman, but this reality only came into fruition recently. He had two colleges at the top of this list, but without the expectation of playing college football. “I didn’t actually have any football offers before this year. But I knew I wanted to go to either Cal Poly or USD, football or not,” he said.
Hayden then began to lean towards USD over Cal Poly in the process of narrowing down his college list. “I started to favor USD because I thought I could balance the school work with the athletics if I was to play football. And then eventually USD offered me a scholarship and I made my decision.” Hayden also added, “The first game on the USD schedule is also against Cal Poly, so its pretty ironic that it’s between my final two choices for schools.”
As for his dream of playing football in college, Hayden said, “It’s all so surreal, I remember ever since third grade I would tell everyone ‘I want to play football at Stanford.’ But now that I will actually be able to play football at the next level, I still can’t believe it. I truly see it as a blessing.”