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Newsday's Athlete of the Week is Seaford's Joe Angelastro

Seaford's Joe Angelastro

Seaford's Joe Angelastro Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Joe Angelastro pictured himself in a Seaford football jersey from a young age, but before he could run over players on a field, he had to work over his parents.

“I always wanted to play, but my parents didn’t really want me to,” Angelastro said. “They were scared about the contact and everything. But I always loved it and always kept pushing them to play.”

Then in the seventh grade, after convincing his mother who in turn helped his father get onboard, Angelastro got his way. And it was great news not only for him, but the future of the Seaford football program.

Angelastro, a 5-9, 175-pound running back who rushed for 1,530 yards and 17 touchdowns in a Class IV Long Island Championship winning season last season as a junior, has started this season where he left off. He rushed for 305 yards and three touchdown on 33 carries to lead Seaford to a 34-12 victory over Clarke Sept. 21 to be named Newsday’s Athlete of the Week.

But don’t expect the senior to take nearly any of the credit for himself.

“It’s the offensive line,” Angelastro said. “I couldn’t do anything without them. The holes were huge, and I just hit them.”

Whether Angelastro will admit it or not, it’s his play that is largely why Seaford is riding a nine-game winning streak, dating to last season, and is off to a 3-0 start. He has rushed for 604 yards and six touchdowns on 80 carries to open the season, averaging 7.55 yards per rush.

Seaford coach Rob Perpall credits Angelastro’s work ethic, saying sometimes the running back even needs to be protected from himself.

“Where he really excels is in practice,” Perpall said. “He practices so hard that I usually have to take him out because he’s really into it. He loves to play.”

A workhorse on the field, Angelastro, who took over for All-Long Island running back Danny Roell last season, has carried the ball at least 25 times in seven of Seaford’s 12 victories he played in overall.

“He has a lot of God-given gifts of physical skill, but he has a work ethic and tremendous enthusiasm,” Perpall said. “He’s as hard a worker I’ve ever coached in 50 years…that’s what separates him.”

But Angelastro, who described himself as a patient runner, isn’t concerned about personal statistics, yardage totals or setting records. The only number he’s concerned with is the one under “Seaford” on the scoreboard, and making sure that number is greater than whoever the opponent is that day. Not even a number such as 300 yards.

“It means a lot, but not that much because all that matters is we’re winning on the scoreboard,” Angelastro said. “That’s all that matters to me.”

Along with the respect of his teammates, and an opportunity to win a second-straight Long Island Championship.

“I know they would lay a body down for me and I would lay a body down for them,” Angelastro said. “And hopefully it ends like last year.”

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