Croton football stars to sign tomorrow
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After starting for four years at Croton-Harmon, a pair of Tigers will be heading right up Route 9 and 9W to accept scholarship offers at the Division 1 level.
Quarterback/safety Jesse Mainiero will head to Poughkeepsie to play at Marist next fall and guard/linebacker Kyle Ricciardi is headed to Army. Both players will be honored at a ceremony at Croton-Harmon High School tomorrow starting at 6:30 p.m.
“It’s really exciting to be signing an actual letter of intent,” Mainiero said. “It’s nerve wracking at the same time though because I’ve made a name for myself in my high school, but now I’m a nobody again. That’s what signing feels like.”
Ricciardi also made a name for himself around Croton and Westchester Couty as he dominated on both sides of the field and recorded more than 90 tackles in his senior season as a linebacker. A 5-year varsity player, the leadership skills that Ricciardi possesses should translate seamlessly to a program like Army.
“Being so close to the campus, I’ve been there a lot, and I just get a feeling that it’s a special place every time I’m there. It will be a lot of hard work, but it’s something I’ve wanted for a long time, and I’ll take it as another challenge,” Ricciardi said. “The fact that it will be a reality tomorrow is amazing.”
Mainiero’s leadership can’t be questioned, either. He finished high school with one of the greatest careers in Croton-Harmon history. As a quarterback, he threw for nearly 1600 yards and ran for almost 2,000 more in his career. His career record as Croton’s quarterback was 20-2, with two losses coming in the state championship game.
Mainiero’s choice to attend Marist isn’t surprising due to the fact that his older brother, Nick Mainiero, is a safety with the Red Foxes. With Jesse Mainiero’s athletic ability, it’s not far-fetched for him to see the field alongside his brother next year.
“The goal is definitely to make the travel team, I’d love to go to places like San Diego and Florida,” Mainiero said. “If I found a way to get some playing time at free safety though, it would be amazing. We never played on the field at the same time in high school. It would be special.”
When talking about Ricciardi and Mainiero, fellow four-year teammates John Brennan and Dennis O’Connell usually come up as well. The four friends have been inseparable for a long time. O’Connell has submitted an early application to Hobart College, and Brennan is visiting Ithaca before he makes his decision. His choices include Wagner and Marist as well.
“It’s going to be a huge change without those guys. We’ve played together since we were in youth leagues,” Ricciardi said. “We’ve had each other’s backs since then and been together on varsity for four and five years. I’m excited to see everyone succeed at the next level though, and there’s no doubt that we’ll all get a great education and be the best football players we can in college.”
Email John Malone at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MSGV_Malone