East Meadow's Giancarlo Carvalho wins Martone Award
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At East Meadow, the breakfast of champions is pancakes.
Along with the traditional football statistics, the Jets' coaches break down video to record the number of pancakes -- blocks on which a defender is flattened -- compiled by their linemen.
Giancarlo Carvalho, all 6-2, 280 pounds of him, stacked up more than 100 pancakes during his stellar four-year varsity career, and that appetite was rewarded Sunday. Carvalho, a senior tackle, was awarded the Martone Award as the outstanding lineman in Nassau at the county's 47th Gridiron Banquet at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury.
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He is the fifth East Meadow player to win the award, the most of any school since the first Martone was presented in 1975. "We try to glorify the position," said East Meadow coach Vinny Mascia, who has produced four of the Jets' five Martone winners since taking the job in 1998.
The fifth, Justin Szwejkowski (1997), is Mascia's offensive line coach. "There's definitely a pride factor here," Mascia said of the offensive line. "Who's the next man up?"
That would be Carvalho, who followed Mascia's other Martone winners, Rich Ohrnberger (2003) and John Elliott (2005-06). "It's an honor," Carvalho said. "I'm now part of the East Meadow linemen tradition. It really means a lot."
Carvalho and All-County teammate Tom Hippner, also an offensive tackle, opened holes for running back Billy Andrle, who Sunday won the Thorp Award as Nassau's most outstanding player. Said Carvalho, "It means that I was doing my job up front and Billy did his job after."
It's been a job well done by Carvalho since the second game of his freshman season, when Mascia promoted him to the varsity. He played in 28 East Meadow wins, twice earning All-County honors. He helped the Jets reach the 2011 Long Island Class I championship game, a 54-47 loss to Floyd. This season, Carvalho was named to Newsday's All-Long Island first team.
"He's a quiet, hard-working kid who's been around for years and knows the right way to do things," Mascia said. "He had all the answers for the younger kids who wanted to know any situation in our program. He's the guy who knew what was going on, technique-wise or motivational-wise."
Carvalho's blocking technique isn't fancy. He gained 15 pounds for his senior season to enhance his straight-ahead, drive-blocking role as the strong-side tackle in East Meadow's run-oriented offense. "He's a much better run blocker because we do so much running,'' Mascia said. "He's such a strong kid."
Carvalho, who also started at defensive end, hopes to play offensive line in college. He has set up visits to several schools, including Lafayette, and will decide in February. "I've always seen myself as more of an offensive lineman," he said. "Defense is fun, but my skills are better for offense. I've always been good at blocking people."
And piling up the pancakes.