By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider
Like so many other high school players, Marlboro quarterback Phil DeSantis has a player that he emulates and looks up to.
However, his name isn’t Brady or Manning. Hard-nosed and tough, DeSantis prides himself on playing like his grandfather, also named Phil DeSantis, who starred as a running back at the University of Connecticut more than 50 years ago.
“My grandfather is definitely one of my role-models,” DeSantis, a senior, said. “He came from nothing, worked hard, got a full ride to UConn and almost made the NFL. He’s been pretty successful in life. I try to play similar to him.”
DeSantis is certainly making his grandfather, who lives in the Town of Newburgh, and the rest of his family proud this season. DeSantis’ dad, also named Phil, played tight end and defensive end at Marlboro, graduating in 1985. Phil DeSantis III has led Marlboro to a 3-0 start with his fearless, hard-charging style.
He rushed for 195 yards, scoring on runs of 1, 5, 41 and 68 yards in a 42-7 win over Spackenkill on Saturday. The Iron Dukes have outscored opponents 145-32 this season.
“Phil is a very tough kid and you can tell he is competitive,” Spackenkill coach Clint DeSouza said. “He breaks a lot of tackles and just throws the boom on you. Marlboro’s offense is pretty special right now and he is a big part of it.”
DeSantis visits his grandfather, who is 79, often, talking about everything from politics, to the next big family gathering, to – of course – football. His grandfather has always taught him to be tough, but has also helped him develop his vision on the field. DeSantis’ dad was his youth coach and has also been a role-model, impacting his development into a Section 9 standout, preaching hard work and toughness.
“I think it’s great that Phil has such close family ties and that’s what makes playing here special,” Marlboro coach Rich Ward said. “I know his grandfather was a great player and his parents have done a wonderful job raising him. They are very positive influences and Phil has always been great for our program.”
DeSantis has rushed for 401 yards and has 13 all-purpose touchdowns and he’s sharing the ball with two other quarterbacks. Junior Sam Mongelli and sophomore Christian Diorio also see time under center for Marlboro. DeSantis also lines up at running back, slot back and defensive end.
“Our main goal is to win, to come back and get the Section 9 (Class B) title,” DeSantis said. “I think the big thing is that we have played together for years, since youth football. We just want to keep it up. We have all been successful, but we wouldn’t be anything without our offensive line. They do all the hard work.”