Here’s a story I did before the Harrison-Yorktown football game on Jake Marino, who’s having quite the season. There are several prominent lacrosse stars who are having a big impact on the gridiron this season … Connor Vercruysse and Austin Fusco at Yorktown, Mike Zingaro at Panas, Brian Prunty at Lakeland, Liam DaRos at Brewster … fill in the rest. I’m sure there are more.
By Mike Dougherty
It was the kind of setback that capable of silencing a locker room, but Jake Marino hit the ground running after Harrison lost Super 11 back Mike Amicucci to back-to-back ankle sprains.
There was no looking back.
And when the Huskies welcomed Yorktown on Friday, they were 4-1 and one timely win removed from securing a playoff berth.
“Jake’s a three-year starter, a great athlete,” Harrison coach Art Troilo Jr. said. “We expected him to have a great season, but when Mike went down, the onus was really on Jake. What he’s done really helped keep us in this. Without Jake, we’d be out already.”
Marino, who’s heading to UMass to play lacrosse next fall, didn’t have any issues adjusting to an increased workload.
He went into Friday’s game with 726 yards and nine touchdowns on 65 carries. That’s an eye-popping 11.2 yards per carry.
“I knew I was going to have an impact on this team, but I didn’t know I would play this big of a role when Mike was out,” the senior running back and cornerback said. “I knew I had to prepare myself and step up because my team needed me.”
Amicucci missed parts of three games with the ankle problems.
“It was a huge loss for us,” Marino said. “I mean, he’s the best player on the whole team. And he plays both ways. We managed to stay on our feet. Our backups, Rashan Gilmore and Michael Salvatori, stepped up and filled his role.”
Troilo was hoping to get Amicucci back on the field against the Huskers, who also needed a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Marino has been playing football since third grade, and has a genetic connection to the game. His father, Neil, is a varsity assistant coach at Scarsdale, although he dialed back the hours this season to watch his son’s final season. His uncle, Dean, is the freshman coach at Harrison. Marino also has three catches for 83 yards.
“He’s very fast and plays at the same speed, 100 mph all the time,” Troilo said.
Marino, who stands 5-foot-9 and weighs 175 pounds, isn’t exactly fluid when he’s on the go, but he’s elusive and is constantly making plays.
“I’m fast, so that helps, but my line’s done a really good job getting downfield and blocking for me,” he said. “I’ve always been kind of a tight runner. I’m not very flexible so maybe that’s part of the reason.”