Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 33
 
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
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TOUGH HIKE: Joe Giacalone, right, snaps the ball to quarterback Connor Ryan last fall during his senior season with the Princeton High football team. This week, Giacalone is in preseason camp at Delaware Valley College (Pa.) football squad as he starts his college career. Giacalone is following in a family tradition with his brother Vinny having played college football at Carnegie Mellon and brother Frank currently a senior offensive lineman for Lehigh.

PHS Grad Giacalone Bringing Strong Work Ethic in Beginning Football Career at Delaware Valley

Bill Alden

Joe Giacalone felt like a deer in the headlights when he made his debut for the Princeton High football team in 2006.

“It was against Notre Dame under the lights my sophomore year,” recalled Giacalone. “It was scary and I was extremely nervous.”

Giacalone overcame those nerves and developed into a star center for the Little Tigers, anchoring the middle of the PHS offensive line.

This week, Giacalone is dealing with a new set of butterflies bouncing around in his stomach as he starts his college football career with Division III power Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, Pa.

“I am very nervous,” said Giacalone. “I am excited but I don’t know what to expect.”

Giacalone lived up to family expectations at PHS as he followed in the footsteps of older brothers who both starred for the Little Tigers.

“I found it to be a huge honor to play high school football in the same jerseys as them,” said Giacalone, whose oldest brother Vinny was a star quarterback while Frank was a standout tight end/defensive lineman. “I have always looked up to them and it was great to be on the same team.”

With Vinny having played college football at Carnegie Mellon and Frank currently a senior offensive lineman for Lehigh, Giacalone has tapped their knowledge as he prepares for Delaware Valley.

“I have been talking to my brothers and they said keep doing the stuff I have been doing,” said Giacalone. “They told me to work hard.”

Giacalone had an unwanted break in his football work this summer as he took ill in July.

“I found out in July that I had mono,” said Giacalone. “I lost 12 pounds and I was not cleared to start working out until late July.”

Playing catch-up, Giacalone believes he is back to full strength. “I started lifting weights twice a day to get my strength back,” said Giacalone, noting that his weight is back up to 220 pounds from 208.

“I lift two hours in the morning. I work out for three hours in the afternoon because I also do some running then. I have been doing my personal bests in the the bench press and the squat.”

In reflecting on his PHS career, Giacalone points to the Little Tigers’ state playoff appearance in 2007 as one of the best moments.

“That was pretty exciting,” said Giacalone. “With Princeton High not being known as the best team, people were coming up to us and congratulating us.”

While PHS wasn’t the best team on the field that day against Long Branch in a 38-3 loss, Giacalone still took a lot from the experience.

“It was weird, we had played them in a consolation game the year before and they were a different team in the playoff game,” said Giacalone. “They were fast and physical; we saw what non-CVC football was like.”

In Giacalone’s senior season, it looked like PHS was headed to another playoff appearance after it produced a 5-1 start. The Little Tigers stumbled down the stretch and just missed a berth in the tournament.

As a senior leader, Giacalone tried to hold things together for the Little Tigers. “We started off 5-1 and then the confidence broke down,” recalled Giacalone. “I was trying to teach the young guys what to do.”

Now, Giacalone is going to be one of the young guys again and he is looking to learn the ropes for the Aggies, who went 8-3 last fall.

“I hope to get on the field; I am a long snapper so maybe I can get on the field for special teams,” said Giacalone.

“I want to play offensive line. I may be too light this year before they bulk me up a bit. I don’t know where I might end up playing. My brothers have been changed around a bunch of times. I am just going to work hard and see what happens.”

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