Eli Ruiz | Democrat
For the third consecutive year, Monticello’s Joseph Greco was selected to play in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl. This year’s game will be played at Reliant Stadium in Houston, TX.
Greco ready for another Christmas hike
Story by Eli Ruiz
Most kid cherish this time of the year.
After all, with school holiday breaks and gifts steadily piling up under the Christmas tree, there’s much to look forward too.
Thirteen-year-old Joseph Greco of Monticello cherishes this time of year for different reasons, though.
For the third straight year, the eighth grader and National Honor Society student son of Village of Monticello Parks and Recreation head Michael Greco will participate in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl.
In 2010 Greco who began competing in youth football at age 10 traveled to Myrtle Beach, S.C. to participate in the prestigious game. Last year the game was moved to Cowboys Stadium, home to the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. This year Greco will find himself almost five hours down Interstate 45 from Dallas, and at Reliant Stadium, home to the Houston Texans of the NFL.
“I’m really excited to see another NFL stadium,” says the young man who was the only eighth grader to start on on the Monticello junior varsity scrimmage team. (For budgetary reasons Monticello does not yet field a full junior varsity squad.)
At Monticello, under head Coach Matt Buddenhagen, the junior varsity and varsity squads practice together and all the way down to the modified football team, share the same exact offensive scheme. Greco's father, who also acts as an assistant for the Monticello varsity football team, said of his son, "he really earned the respect of the varsity guys this season . . . guys like Jake [McLachlan] and Mistah [Ali] by always being willing to work hard and play even harder. He was also very respectful of the older guys on the varsity."
Each NFL city holds a yearly Offense-Defense Camp. Out of about 120 youngsters who participated in the Buffalo Bills affiliated camp that Greco attended, only eight position players made the cut for the Offense-Defense All-Star Game. At 5-feet 11-inches tall and weighing in at 205 pounds with a size 13.5 shoe, Greco plays both defensive end and center.
“Most of the kids I’ll be playing with will be from New York and Pennsylvania,” explains Greco.
Twenty-eight different teams comprised of seven different age groups will compete in the big two-day extravaganza.
“He always wanted to play football,” says Michael Greco. “He played baseball [Little League] from t-ball at age 5 to majors, but he just wanted to try out football
“I sent him to football camp a couple years ago and he’s been playing in the big game since.” The elder Greco estimates that his son had about eight tackles in last year’s game and two sacks. “He had a solid game and basically never left the field in last year’s game.
"I'm very happy for Joseph. "I'm just so proud that he put in the extra work again and didn't settle for being just good. He put in the extra effort that it takes to be outstanding, like weight training four days a week.”
For Joseph, being selected to play for the third year in a row is still humbling.
“I’m just really honored to be chosen again for this game,” said Greco, who dreams of some day playing for the Miami Hurricanes. “Most of all, I really look forward to competing again against the best in the country in my age group.”
So come Christmas Day, while many youngsters dreams are fulfilled, Joseph Greco will be with his family aboard a flight destined for Houston, TX., where he will be living his dream.