Solid work ethic leads to success for Dean Marucci on the River Dell High School Freshman Football Team


While growing up, Dean Marucci played several sports that included wrestling, lacrosse, and baseball. For Marucci, the goal in participating in all these sports was getting acclimated to the mental and physical rigors. The one sport that Marucci eventually gravitated to the most was football.

"My Mom and Dad were big into sports and my brother played freshman football," Dean Marucci explained. “My sister in in high school and plays sports as well.” Just keeping active meant, I don't get lazy, getting up and doing something and not sitting around all day.

This year Marucci joined the River Dell High School freshman football team. Even with a combination of Oradell and River Edge players, Marucci says the chemistry is evident. "We didn't always go to the same school, kind of knew each other through football and the great aspect of playing sports is you make new friends from different town and plan for the next four years."

Before the 2021 regular season kicked off in September, there was intense preparation both in the weight room and on the field for the Golden Hawks team. Due to COVID-19 rules, there were certain restrictions in place that Marucci alluded to with strength and conditioning.

"During one of the off-season lifts we were in the weight room, we actually went outsider to run up and down a hill outside the school." "Before we could even go into the weight room the coaches would send us a workout you would have to do on the front lawn, and they would drive by to see if we were doing them."

Despite the early grind of 9 a.m. kickoffs on Saturday mornings for freshman games and evening games on Mondays for junior varsity games, Marucci remains disciplined.

"I will swap five more minutes of sleep but mostly it's good, just getting out of bed early and doing something," Dean Marucci explained. "On Mondays we have a lunch meeting with Coach(Mike Aliano), Coach(Sammy) Halabi and Coach(Steve) Iafrate and that gets us prepared." We stay after school to warm up for games, and that has been good.

"Coach(Mike) Aliano is a big help not only as head coach but also calls the defensive stunts and blitzes." "Coach(John)Budka helps out with the quarterbacks, running backs, and slot receivers." Coach(Sammy)Halabi and Coach(Steve)Iafrate helped us out with off-season workouts."

"Coach Halabi coaches the offensive and defensive line." "Coach Iafrate coaches the linebackers and receivers, so I've grown pretty close with him over this year and he is also my teacher in the school so we're talking more about football."

Dean Marucci has flourished in playing wide receiver on offense and outside linebacker on defense for the freshman and junior varsity football teams. "Playing wide receiver, I enjoy being out there and getting the ball and running as well," Deam Marucci described. "As an outside linebacker I like being able to make tackles."

This season the freshman football team is undefeated at 6-0, and Marucci gives a ton of the credit to the coaching staff for the team's success up to this point. "Everybody is contributing on this team; the offensive line is really good and linebackers making tackles from end to end," Dean Marucci noted. "We have gotten a lot better since the first scrimmage against Sparta and once the season started."

"Everyone is very dedicated, the coaches come in early and leave pretty late." "They take time out of their day when they have other jobs and have families as well." "We usually practice six days a week and everyone really works hard for this." It's been a really good experience because the sophomore numbers are very low, so many of the freshmen need to step up and get that experience on a higher level.

The support for the freshman and junior varsity football team from the administration and athletics Marucci stated has been critical this season. "The teachers in school will come up to us and ask how the team is doing," Dean Marucci remarked. "My friends who don't even play football are very interested in hearing what I have to say." Coach(DJ) Nimphius talks to us about how most other players on sports teams' on players were football players, and the coaches like us playing different sports and don't want us to focused on one sport.

In closing Dean Marucci offered this advice to younger kids playing football. "Just stick with it, playing with your friends is an awesome experience." "Older kids have who have been through the program told me high school football is the best thing ever and I’m starting to live it right now."

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