The East County Observer and Bogey’s Restaurant and Sports Pub have teamed up to showcase the East County’s top athletes. Each recipient’s article will be featured on the restaurant’s wall.
PAL Raiders junior varsity running back Brooks Maddaloni is used to getting the bulk of the carries.
But after giving the Raiders a two-touchdown lead over the PAL Wildcats Oct. 24, Maddaloni figured his coaches would let someone else try to make a play. Instead, the Raiders kept calling Maddaloni’s number — much to the surprise of the Johnson Middle School sixth-grader.
The 12-year-old rushed for 217 yards on 19 carries and scored five touchdowns and two extra points, leading the Raiders to a 36-0 victory over the Wildcats. Maddaloni also completed one pass for 18 yards.
“It was a good way to end the season,” Maddaloni said. “I ran hard and I broke a lot of tackles, but I wouldn’t say it was my best game, even though I scored five touchdowns, because I could’ve (broken) more.”
Maddaloni began playing football three years ago after deciding to quit playing soccer. He planned to go out for the East Manatee Bulldogs, but when all of the spots on the team were filled, Maddaloni landed with the Raiders.
“I ended up really liking it,” said Maddaloni, who plans to play for the Raiders again next fall.
As one of the younger players on the junior varsity squad last year, Maddaloni played backup running back, linebacker and safety. But this season, Maddaloni has gravitated back to his natural position.
This season, Maddaloni has scored 17 touchdowns, helping lead the Raiders to a 4-4 record. On Oct. 31, Maddaloni and the fourth-seeded Raiders will face the top-seeded PAL Panthers in the playoffs — a game Maddaloni is looking forward to after losing to the Panthers twice this season.
“I want to beat the next team that we play because that will determine if we go to the Super Bowl or not,” Maddaloni said.