FOOTBALL: Garbarino's performance in DLS state-title run opens recruiting doorsFootball  |
DETROIT – Who would have thought?
After back-to-back Division I-recruits starting at quarterback for the Warren De La Salle Pilots, it was the lesser-known newbie that took the title-starved program to the promise land.
First-year field general Joey Garbarino did what Michigan sophomore Shane Morris and Rutgers freshman Giovanni Rescigno couldn’t – lead De La Salle to its first-ever football state crown.
Garbarino was a perfect 7-for-7 through the air for 90 yards and a touchdown, while running for 90 yards and two additional scores for good measure, as De La Salle stomped Muskegon Mona Shores 44-8 in the Division 2 state finals at Ford Field Friday afternoon.
A 1-yard plunge into the end zone in the first quarter opened the day’s scoring onslaught and his 8-yard scamper across the goal-line early in the fourth turned out Mona Shores’ lights.
He’d been picking up steam the entire postseason, getting more dangerous the further the Pilots advanced in the playoffs. Garbarino scored at least three touchdowns or more in the regionals, final four and state championship game.
“Joey might not be as highly-acclaimed as the two guys that came before him, but he’s a genuine leader, people want to follow him,” De La Salle coach Paul Verska said. “He plays the quarterback position with a tight end or linebacker mentality.”
Mona Shores coach Matt Koziak was impressed with the Pilots’ “lunch pail” signal-caller.
“That kid is so poised, he’s a pure winner, just nails tough,” he said. “When his team needed big plays, he made them.”
In 2013, the 6-foot-1 Garbarino lined up at wide receiver. The last time he was under center at quarterback was as a sophomore on junior varsity during the 2012 campaign.
The maturation process in the pocket happened fast.
“I tried to get better every play, my confidence grew as the season progressed,” he said. “By the time the playoffs came around, I said to myself I can play quarterback and hold my own with anyone around. That led me to believe we could win a state title. And that’s what we did.”
Because of his stellar play late in the season, Garbarino has begun attracting college-recruiting interest himself. He might not end up playing in the Big Ten like Morris or Rescigno, however, he wants to take advantage of the opportunities starting to come his way.
“Football is my life, I love the game and if I have a chance to play at the next level, I’m going to jump on it.”
**EDITORS NOTE: Highlights from this game can be seen on the State Champs! High School Sports Show Sunday at 9 am and 10 pm on Fox Sports Detroit**Tweet