Ready When Called: Lacey’s Jason Giresi made the most of his Gridiron Classic moment
BRICK TOWNSHIP – Lacey’s Jason Giresi wasn’t listed as a starter for Thursday’s Shore Sports Network All-Shore Gridiron Classic and he knew he wasn’t going to get a ton of carries, but that never got in the way of him enjoying the experience.
What Giresi did best throughout the week of practices was embody the kind of attitude and approach the Ocean County coaches preached. It paid off, too, because when Giresi got his chance he was ready to make the most of it.
Brick Memorial’s Tony Thorpe, the starting fullback, went down with a minor injury in the first half which thrust Giresi into a position he wasn’t quite familiar with. Even so, the Ocean County coaches felt comfortable calling his number and he responded with three carries for 19 yards and a 6-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Monmouth County went on to win the 41st SSN All-Shore Gridiron Classic at Brick Memorial, 28-14, but Ocean County was able to make a late charge with a pair of scores, starting with Giresi’s touchdown plunge.
“It felt really good being able to shine among other great players and it was just a really exciting moment,” Giresi said.
“He’s a humble kid and he’s not going to say a word about how many touches he gets,” said Ocean County/Central Regional head coach Justin Fumando. “He’s a kid who was excited to be here and excited to be part of it, and that’s what this game is all about. I hope kids around the Shore Conference realize that. It’s about being part of this special week and special moment and making memories, not about the touches and the carries.”
Giresi had a very good senior season with 1,300 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns to help the Lions go 7-3 and reach the state playoffs. That backed up a junior season where he ran for 1,105 yard and 10 touchdowns. He concluded his career with 2,594 yards rushing and 31 total touchdowns. Giresi’s running style – physical and downhill – made him the perfect fit for Lacey’s offense. The Lions have a great tradition of standout running backs and Giresi was the latest in that line.
“When you say ‘classic Lacey running back’ that’s exactly what he is,” Fumando said. “And he could don the maroon and gold (Central’s colors) and fit in just as well, so he fit what we were doing this whole entire week. It was just a new role for him went Tony went down so we threw him at fullback and ran the veer with him. I’m so proud of him for sticking with it the whole week. When we put him in a spot he didn’t practice much he was like, ‘coach, whatever you need’. That’s the kind of kid he is.”
“It’s a great feeling knowing I’m one of them (Lacey running back) and I always will be,” Giresi said. “I was coached really well to become that classic Lacey running back. I’m really blessed to be able to score a touchdown today and continue my career for the next four years.”
Giresi had his sights set on playing in the All-Shore Gridiron Classic early in his high school career. He went to the 2016 game at Central and last season’s game at Shore Regional, envisioning himself putting on the Ocean County jersey and making an impact, and he certainly did that on Thursday night.
“It was something I always wanted to do, I always wanted to have the opportunity to come and play among all these guys,” Giresi said. “I was hoping senior year I would get nominated and thankfully I did.”
Giresi also got to share the experience with four of his Lacey teammates: quarterback Coleton Klaus, wide receiver Tanner Miick, offensive lineman John Carr and defensive back Anthony Tobia.
“It’s really our true last ride as a group of friends and a group of brothers,” Giresi said. “It’s something we’ll remember for the rest of our lives.”’
Giresi will continue his career at Kean University where he hopes to forge new memories and carve out a similarly successful career. He’ll always remember playing in the All-Shore Gridiron Classic, however, and you can count on him coming back and watching future players square off in the Shore Conference’s midsummer classic.
“Jason is a great human being and a great young man who’s going to go on and play for Kean University, and I’m a little biased toward that,” said Fumando, who played and coached at Kean. “He’s going to be a stud for the next four years for coach (Dan) Garrett, I just know he’s going to be great for their scheme and he’s a great kid going to a great place.”
“I really can’t wait to come back and see the next group of great athletes,” Giresi said. “Being able to play again and get that extra moment and really take it all in, it was a special feeling.”
Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.