Nick Gallo gets one more chance to play in a high school football game today.
The Schalmont senior, who helped the Sabres to two consecutive Class B state championships, will suit up for the Upstate club in today’s Upstate/Downstate Football Classic at Ithaca College.
“The last two seasons didn’t end the way I wanted them to,” Gallo said. “Upstate is 0-3 in this game, so maybe I can help break that streak and win my last game before college.”
Gallo was selected following a mid-May tryout.
“You get nominated, then you go to the tryouts,” he said. “After the tryouts, they let you know if you’ve made the roster.”
Joining Gallo on the Upstate team are six Shenendehowa seniors: quarterback Ryan VanGalen, wide receiver Jordan Zlogar, tight end Erik Kromer, defensive end Matt Dillon and offensive linemen Warren Shaw and Dan Busold.
Gallo played a good deal of last season with a shoulder injury. That was the elephant in the car as Gallo and his father John, the athletic director at Schalmont, made the drive to Ithaca.
“Today [Friday] was the first contact I’ve had since the end of the season,” said Gallo, who has signed to play for Merrimack College beginning this fall. “After the first hit today, I kind of waited a second, felt OK, smiled at my dad, he smiled back. I knew everything was good.
“But I was a little scared, not knowing.”
A ferocious tackler with solid instincts, Gallo was a two-time Daily Gazette Defensive Player of the Year and two-time Class B first-team state selection during a tremendous high school career.
To make the offense more versatile, he moved from running back to quarterback for his junior and senior seasons.
Today, he’ll could line up in several positions.
“They’ve got me at strong safety, long snapper, holding for extra points and as a punt rusher,” Gallo said. “I could see a lot of playing time.”
Friday’s practice sessions in Ithaca forced Gallo to miss his senior class picnic.
But he hopes he gets the opportunity to honor his classmates during the game.
“I want to wear a Schalmont shirt under my uniform, and if I score, tear off the uniform and represent Schalmont,” he said.