Thursday, April 26, 2012
Elite 11 Watch: New York star Chris Laviano
By Jon Mahoney
Throughout this offseason, we’ve spotlighted Class of 2013 quarterbacks who have a shot at making the Elite 11 finals in July. This week, we profile Holy Trinity (Hicksville, N.Y.) junior Chris Laviano, who competed at the Elite 11 regional at at Cowboys Stadium in March. Laviano won't be able to make this Saturday's New York City regional, but does plan on being at the Las Vegas regional in June.
Chris Laviano never thought he’d get the chance to play quarterback.
Up until the seventh grade, he saw most of his time at center and middle linebacker. Then he played running back and was the backup quarterback.
Finally in the eighth grade he got his chance and he hasn’t looked back since.
The 6-foot-2, 197-pound junior is rated the nation’s No. 2 pocket passer by ESPN and this fall he’ll be a four-year starter at Holy Trinity (Hicksville, N.Y.).
Laviano led Holy Trinity to a CHSFL Class AAA runner-up finish as a freshman and has thrown for 3,227 yards and 29 touchdowns the past two seasons. However, this past fall, a young Holy Trinity squad struggled to a 3-7 mark.
Laviano, who has offers from Boston College and Rutgers, is focusing this offseason to return Holy Trinity to its winning ways. He’s also aiming to earn a trip this summer to the Elite 11 finals in California.
In late March, Laviano impressed at the Dallas Elite 11 regional at Cowboys Stadium, but came away without an invite. He’s hoping it’s a different story in June at the Las Vegas Elite 11 regional, which Laviano plans on attending.
ESPNHS: How did it feel to be named the starting quarterback as a freshman? Laviano: At the time, it was big. I had only played quarterback one year before in the eighth grade. I pretty much went from Pop Warner to varsity. I lived it up that year. I never felt any pressure because the upperclassmen were awesome. Our running back, Anthony Brunetti, took me under his wing and made it easier for me.
ESPNHS: You didn’t play quarterback until the eighth grade? What did you play before then? Laviano: I played center and middle linebacker until the seventh grade. Then I played running back and was the backup QB. I just didn’t get the chance (to play quarterback). I’ve come a long way. If I take a step back and look at how far I’ve come, it’s pretty crazy.
ESPNHS: Who’s taught you the most about the position? Laviano: My personal quarterback coach, Todd Krueger, has taught me the fundamentals and how to play the position. My coach at school, Dominick Tassone, also knows what he’s talking about. We do the drills they do at Elite 11 and also switch it up a little bit to get our receivers involved. Coach Tassone and I watch film and break down defenses all the time.
ESPNHS: Who do you credit the most for getting you to this point? Laviano: Definitely my mom and dad. They’ve guided me through these four years and have never steered me wrong. I wouldn’t be here without them. And my head coach, Tony Mascia, has given me great advice as well.
ESPNHS: How difficult was last season? Laviano: It was tough because we had two great years before then. It was a pretty rough year. But you bounce back and work even harder. Our whole team has a chip on its shoulder to get back to winning seasons.
ESPNHS: How would you describe your Elite 11 experience so far? Laviano: I went to the Ohio State and Penn State regionals (last year). The experience of competing against kids your own age is the best part, just to be able to compare yourself against them. I was talking to as many kids as I could to see how their recruiting processes were going. I talked to Gunner Kiel and Zeke Pike. It was cool to get reps with the best. At the Dallas regional, I did well, but I think I did much better at the Nike Football Training Camp the next day. I threw much better. But I was definitely more prepared.
ESPNHS: What mentality are you taking with you into the Las Vegas regional? Laviano: I’m definitely hungry. My ultimate goal is to make the finals. When you go to these events, you need something that’s going to separate you from 100 kids. You have to have a swagger and take it from the competition. You have to be first in line, have zip on the ball and be all business. It’s the last one, so you’ve got to give to it all.
Chris Laviano School: Holy Trinity (Hicksville, N.Y.)
2011 Team Record: 3-7 (Lost in Class AAAAA state semifinals)