YORK (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- There have been a lot of coaching changes over the past year in York, including on the football team. Matt Nelson is now head coach of the Wildcats varsity squad, and he's made it a point to surround himself with qualified assistant coaches that he respects.

One of them is Lynzi Pacitti.

As a teenager in York in the mid-1990's, Pacitti dreamed of tackling and touchdowns.

"In high school, my girlfriend and I decided to sign up for the football team," Pacitti says, "When it came time to play, she didn't show up, but I did."

That moment began a football journey that has now come full circle. Pacitti is the head coach for the Wildcats JV team, and is a special teams coach at the varsity level. When varsity head coach Matt Nelson was looking to fill his staff, he knew Pacitti would be a perfect fit.

"I coached in the youth program and I actually coached under Lynzi," says Nelson. "I got to know her and I liked her enthusiasm, her knowledge and her love for the game."

That love that began in a Wildcats uniform. Pacitti played free safety and running back in high school and was named co-captain her senior year. She left York to play semi-pro women's football in Hawaii, honing her skills, and eventually bringing them back to her hometown.

"The board of the youth football league asked me if I wanted to help coach, so I did, and I absolutely loved it," says Pacitti. "I coached there for three years hoping to come up through the ranks with the kids to high school."

Her ascension to the high school team happened a bit earlier than anticipated, but this year's Wildcats team is happy to have her.

"I don't really think of her as a woman. When I'm talking to her, she's a coach," says York senior Dawson Gundlah. "We all treat her as a coach. She has a lot of knowledge on this sport and I think we all respect that and we take what she has to say."

Her presence is adds a new and different voice at practice, and is making a positive impact on the team.

"When she says something, you've really gotta listen to it, she'll scream, 'Punt team in the box!' and you've got to be out there. At practice, she'll let you know what you're doing wrong. She's a great coach."

Pacitti has been in their shoes, and now she's a leader on their sidelines.