Game Breaker: Anthony Giordano Looks to Propel South Lakes in Playoffs and Beyond

Photo+via+Marc+Goldstein

Photo via Marc Goldstein

Marc Goldstein, Editor in Chief

As the South Lakes Seahawks football team emerges from the blue and green smoke, Anthony Giordano, the bruising tailback for South Lakes runs out before his teammates. His blonde mullet leaks from the back of his helmet. Anthony has been the leading running back for South Lakes ever since his junior season, a role he has kept with him to this point. One of South Lakes’ captains has had one of the most notable impacts on the program in the past four years. 

Photo via Marc Goldstein

Anthony uses his physicality and strength on the field. As a running back, he is not as much of a speed back and more of a power back. “I think that, in general, I am an aggressive player. On defense, I use that to get off blocks and on offense, I can wait long enough and burst through a hole when I see one. I would say that with my running style, I am a very fundamental player because of how patient I am and some of my power. As I have gotten faster, I have been able to enhance some of those fundamentals,” he explains.

Anthony, in all fairness, is closer to a complete product than a work in progress. The development on the field has been evident with the increased workload. He has doubled his production from the past two seasons combined. Anthony is nearing 1500 all purpose yards with 19 touchdowns in tote. Statistically speaking, he can be looked at as the main catalyst for the offense with large amounts of pressure riding on his every move. He thinks otherwise, “Going into every game, I have the mentality that I have to do my job and execute to my best ability. When I simplify it to that extent, it prevents me from getting overwhelmed.” That being said, he acknowledges that there is a certain degree of pressure for him to perform to an extent. 

A term that Anthony talks about a lot is execution and everyone “doing their jobs”. He dives into this thought, saying, “I’m just the ball carrier on most plays. There are a lot of different moving parts that need to happen in order for me to do my job. I think that it is a team effort every single play. I might get credit for the yardage, but the whole team scores the points.” 

Photo via Marc Goldstein

The team this season is one that, in Anthony’s opinion, is dangerous in ways that have not previously been synonymous with the South Lakes football program. “In the past, I have been running behind an offensive line that averages 260 pounds (or so). This year, we are averaging 205 pounds up front. The guys are a lot faster up front. This means we can run at a higher pace offensively. We call it ‘Tempo Offense’. We want to get a different play off every 11 seconds. We make it so much harder (for defenses) because our big guys can get ready for a play so much quicker than theirs can,” Anthony details. 

Taking a look at some of the tape will demonstrate to anyone just how much Anthony means to this team. In football, it is harder to play through a star player. There are 11 people on the field for each team and the ball can change hands at any point in time. Simply put, it is not exactly an easy task to just feed a team’s best player. However, Anthony is different. That becomes evident immediately. He bullies defenders when running the ball and terrorizes offenses when playing on defense. His impact is undeniable. 

His impact stems from something greater. Blood, sweat, and tears were all a part of his process to arrive at this level. The one thing that might go unrecognized: those who came before him. The class of 2022 contains the last group of players who actually played with players like Joseph Dagbe, Marc Semelfort, among others. Anthony has certainly gained a lot from these former Seahawks. The biggest thing: work ethic and intensity. “I learned that, more than anything on the field during games, the passion and hunger has to be there constantly. Being able to play with intensity during practices and in the weight room is something that those classes had and passed down to us,” he elaborates. More than anything, the way players at South Lakes approach the game is something that has clearly been passed down. Players pay their dues while waiting for playing time, a tradition that started with older classes. 

Although, that is the past. The present is now. Right now, the Seahawks are gearing up for a playoff run. Sitting at 5-5 might not look like the greatest record on paper, but considering the team started at 0-2, it is rather impressive. Anthony reflects on the start of the season, saying, “I think it was actually beneficial for us (to start 0-2). We needed to get punched in the mouth early on. I saw a lot of guys get complacent during practices and not being as aggressive. It was a really good learning experience, and one that has helped us get to this point.” Anthony also points to this shift in mindset as he considers the difference between the Concorde and Liberty District. “In Concorde, the teams are a lot more physical, so that just forced us to up our game and adapt,” he says.

Photo via Marc Goldstein

That does not, though, imply that everything is perfect for South Lakes. The hole they dug themselves was one that took a lot out of the team. The team is dealing with numerous injuries, whether they are restricting players from participating or not. The commonality, according to Anthony, is that every player is dealing with a nagging injury. For Anthony, he is dealing with a problem that has plagued him all season: cramps. “I get these really bad calf cramps during games. I think I have only played in the fourth quarter of like three games because they were so bad. I have been trying different things to minimize them and condition myself. The injuries for everyone are just things we have to push past this time of the year,” Anthony expresses. 

Now, it is time for the Seahawks to make their mark. The playoffs are the last thing that will be remembered in a season. In order to truly cement themselves as a special group, it is time to prove it. Anthony knows that one of the next few weeks will be his last wearing the blue and green. Thinking about the last four years and his legacy, he says, “I want to be remembered as someone who really impacted every facet of life in the area. On the field, obviously, but also in the classroom and community, too. I hope that the younger guys will be able to look at me as a legend on and off the field.” 

The saying “the only way is through” is the exact way to describe the mentality for the South Lakes football team. They will need to summon every ounce of energy, talent, and even luck in order to keep their season alive for each of the next few weeks. Unfortunately, there can only be one team to hoist the trophy. While the trophy might be a physical representation of a champion, there are different ways to measure one. Anthony Giordano, statistically, is one of the best running backs for the South Lakes program. He is up there with the likes of Spencer Alston in terms of dominance. However, his impact stretches much farther than just his on field play. He has been a staple in the community and a great role model for the younger players. The next few games will be his opportunity to prove to everyone else what he knows: he is capable of wrecking games.