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Guiliano carries the load in week 1, Wall ready for Liberty

September 15, 2011

LACEY — Last year, Jim Guiliano was counted on mainly for his athletic abilities on the defensive side of the ball by Wall head football coach Chris Barnes, as the Crimson Knights earned a 7-4 record and and a trip to the NJSIAA Central Group III semifinal.

Guiliano played solidly in the secondary for the Crimson Knights, while then-seniors Raul Pola, Will Avon and Connor Caponegro took the majority of the carries for the team on the offensive side of the ball.

Guiliano did, however, have the opportunity to carry the football sparingly as a junior and made the most of his touches by recording 101 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, which was good enough for a 7.2 rush-yard average per carry.

This year, entering his final season in crimson and silver, Guiliano looked forward to receiving the majority of the carries for Wall.

So, how did he fare in his first game as the starting tailback last Saturday against Lacey?

Guiliano was everything Barnes and Crimson Knight fans could ask for and more in his debut as the featured back, rushing for 125 yards and two touchdowns in a 21-14 victory over the Lions.

Following the game, Guiliano was excited about his team’s win over Lacey and attributed his individual success to the men up front.

“All the credit goes to the offensive line,” said Guiliano, following the victory. “Running behind the Matts [Vialonga, Ford, Pisarcik and McDonough], along with Mikey T[omasuolo] and Derek [Gardner], is just awesome.”

Guiliano also pointed out the strong play of fellow senior, full back Tyler Hetzel, who played well in the absence of senior Andrew Flores.

“Tyler was at fullback and was key in stepping up,” said Guiliano. “He came up big with Andrew Flores out with an injury.”

With a sweltering heat pressing down on the field during the game on Saturday, Guiliano admitted he was exhausted, but was not willing to take a play off, wanting to make the most of his first opportunity to carry the workload.

“It was hot out there and I kind of felt like I was dying, but I drank a lot of water last night,” said Guiliano.

After a solid overall performance by Wall in last Saturday’s win against Lacey, the group looks geared and ready for a strong performance against C Central opponent Jackson Liberty tomorrow night.

Last season, Jackson Liberty, an up and coming team in the Shore Conference, earned perhaps the biggest victory in its program’s short history up to that point against the Crimson Knights, topping Wall 27-21 in week two. It would be the last lost for Wall until its defeat at the hands of Freehold Borough in the state semifinal.

There is no doubt that the Crimson Knights will be looking for revenge tomorrow night, as the group will host its first regular-season game of 2011.

Following the team’s gutsy performance against the Lacey Lions, Guiliano made it clear that Wall had already switched its focus to a new set of Lions — the ones who reside in Jackson.

“The character is there, we just have to get back to work this week for a revenge game against Jackson Liberty,” said Guiliano. “We have wanted this game since the winter.”

Kickoff for the game between Wall and Jackson Liberty is scheduled for 7 p.m. For the full game story on the C Central rivalry game, be sure to pick up a copy of the Sept. 22 edition of The Coast Star.

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