By Doug Johnston
Section 9 Football Correspondent
One night Marlboro football head coach, Brian Beck, was fed up with his team about how unfocused they were at practice. So coach Beck ended practice early and told everyone to go home. After all the players were sent off the field, one player wouldn’t allow any of his teammates to go home. He brought everyone to the grass field on the opposite end of their parking lot by the football field and made sure that the team finished the rest of practice. Beck remembered that as the turning point for their season.
“He stepped up as a leader that night and since then on the field, especially the linemen have bought into this kid as the real deal and if we put that kind of effort in that he does then we can go far” Beck said.
That player was Christian Diorio.
Diorio, Marlboro junior, is a dual sport athlete at the school, playing both baseball and football. On the football field, Diorio plays just about anywhere, from quarterback, to wide receiver, to running back. Diorio also plays on defense and special teams. Although Diorio isn’t necessarily listed as a starter on paper, he is always on the field.
One of the main conversations that Beck had with Diorio heading in the season was that he had to understand that he wasn’t going to be labeled a starter and that wasn’t a bad thing.
“A kid like Christian going into the season the idea was he was going to be a difference maker at multiple positions.” Beck said. “He was really our kid coming up that we groomed to take over once last year’s star, Phil DeSantis, graduated for us. Phil was a kid that also played quarterback, running back, wide receiver, where ever need be. Christian’s really adopted that role and taking over where Phil left off.”
Diorio has really embraced his role of not having one designated position and just playing wherever his team feels gives them the best chance to win. That is why Diorio is the team’s leader because he leads by example and puts the team first.
Two weeks ago, star starting quarterback Sam Mongelli went down with an injury after taking a big hit from the Burke Catholic defense. Aside from a player being injured, there were no worries from the Marlboro sideline to have Christian Diorio finish out the game.
“There’s no worry, no second guessing. From the coaches down to the players it was just full speed ahead no matter who is back there.” Beck said. Although Mongelli is listed as the starter, Marlboro runs a three quarterback offense with Diorio, Mongelli and Zach Bayon (senior). Diorio and the Iron Dukes were able to come back and score 20 unanswered points in the second half to defeat their rival, the Eagles.
Heading into last week against Spackenkill, Diorio knew that he would be getting more game reps with the absence of Mongelli. Diorio approaches each game the same and that approach is to put the work in everyday at practice so that game day becomes easy.
Diorio completed 8-of-14 passes for 123 yards with 82 rushing yards and four all-purpose touchdowns, showing once again how valuable he is to Marlboro.
“The only difference is he (Diorio) took more snaps this week since we (Marlboro) were repping more of a two quarterback system rather than a three [quarterback system]. Other than that, everything was business as usual” Beck said.