By Jerry Del Priore
In March, Mount Olive High School’s sure-handed tight end Chris Carpini signed on to play football and attend Division III Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, bringing all of his hard work to a fantastic fruition.
Carpini said for two weeks straight there was at least one coach who came down to the school every day to look at players. He wasn’t sure if he would play football after high school but snatched up the chance when it came calling.
“Coach (Brian) O’Connor asked if I was interested in playing football in college,” Carpini said. “I never thought of myself doing it, but when the opportunity came up, I thought I give it a shot.”
Carpini said it was the campus’ atmosphere and reuniting with a former teammate that were the deciding factors to attend Moravian College. Plus, being able to study sports management while playing for a college that values its sports program, he added that he’d like to coach football someday as well.
“I really like the campus.” he said. “One of my old teammates, Shane O’Connor, plays there now. They (football team) made me feel comfortable, too. They care a lot about their sports. They put a lot into it.”
Carpini enjoyed a fruitful career as a Marauder, which started at the age of five all the way up to his senior year, when he experienced true ironman football at its best.
“In my senior year, I played every down of every game,” the two-way player, who also manned the defensive end and defensive tackle positions, said. “It was grueling at times.”
Carpini said there are two high school football memories that stand out the most in his career: hitting pay dirt for the first time in his freshman year, and when Mount Olive played in the NJSIAA North 1 Group IV title game at MetLife Stadium (Giants and Jets’ home turf) in his junior season, in which the Marauders suffered a hard-fought 31-28 defeat to Old Tappan.
“On my first touchdown, I got helicoptered, and I chipped my tooth,” he recollected.
As for the championship contest, the six-foot-one Carpini said: “It was unforgettable. It was like playing in a real NFL game. I had ten family members who came to the MetLife game. It was a little disappointing (to lose), but it gave us motivation (to improve) for our futures.”
While Carpini is looking forward to going to Moravian College, he noted that wearing a different uniform will take some getting accustomed to at first because the Mount Olive colors are all he knows.
“It will feel strange, because I wore red, black and gold all my life,” he said. “It’s going to feel weird playing in different colors. But I’m looking forward to it. I’ll need a year to get used to the football system and the school work. I’ll do fine, though.”
Like most adolescents, it comes as no surprise what he’ll miss most about being away from his New Jersey home. But he does have a plan when he does get a little homesick.
“I’ll miss my mom’s cooking,” Carpini said with a laugh. “But I have family (an aunt and uncle) only 20 minutes away.”