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Gino Fontanarosa: finding success yard by yard

Photo Credit: Haley Brown

There are just about a 100 players on the roster, but
one stands out: Gino Fontanarosa. The junior running back laced up his cleats for the first time at five-years-old.

“I definitely started playing because of my brother. I was a big copycat of him when I was little. I was around football because of him and started playing when I could,” Fontanarosa said.

The four year age difference kept things competitive between the two, although now they do not go head-to-head anymore. Beyond football, Fontanarosa wrestled for a few years, but that was not his main priority.

Fontanarosa visited a few different schools, but he knew Brockport was where he belonged.

“Once I came here, I thought it felt like home,” Fontanarosa said. “Even now, we’re all together the whole time. The chemistry itself within the team is a family. Everybody loves each other. We all have each other’s backs. We know when we go out on the field we just play for each other.”

Being from a small town in upstate New York (Lewiston), Fontanarosa believes that his small school is the reason Brockport noticed him. He earned major accolades in high school and has continued to show up during his time as a Golden Eagle.

COVID may have canceled his freshman season, but only halfway through his career, he has made a major impact. He ended this past season 35 yards shy of a 1,000 career rushing yards. Fontanarosa’s personal goal, outside of winning the Empire 8 (E8), is to pass Adam Rodger as the all-time leading rusher with 3,876 yards.

This past season Fontanarosa earned the E8 Offensive Player of the Week, E8 Special Teams Player of the Week and E8 Second Team Offense, while finishing the season leading the team in rushing yards and kick off return yards. He set many single game career highs this past season including 246 rushing yards, a 94 yard total kick return, a 61 yard single kick return, 40 carries and four rushing touchdowns.

While these accomplishments are what fill the stat lines, the work done behind closed doors is the reason for his success. Teammate Ben Marshall watched the work Fontanarosa continues to put in on and off the field. Along with his dedication to football is his desire to create a positive culture.

“Anyone who knows Gino knows that he lives in the weight room,” Marshall said. “He’s never satisfied. He’s always building his teammates up. He brings a loud personality with a lot of energy. Everybody loves that guy.”

Marshall says he believes Fontanarosa’s work ethic foreshadows what’s to come.

“The future is bright for Gino,” Marshall said. “He bursted onto the scene this year but there’s a lot more to Gino’s game we haven’t seen yet. I am super excited to watch him lead this group next season.”

Fontanarosa plans on using his extra year of eligibility from the COVID season. This will leave him two years to achieve his goals and leave his legacy.

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