BY GENE NARDI
When one thinks of the model offensive lineman, Palm Beach Central High School’s Michael Garofalo comes to mind. The 6-foot-4, 285-pound offensive tackle will enter his senior year for the Broncos as one of the team captains.
Garofalo has been a three-year starter for the Broncos. He has been in the weight room through the summer in preparation for the fall season.
“I’m benching 315 pounds and squatting 425 pounds right now,” he said.
Coach Tino Ierulli, in his third season with Palm Beach Central, has put his faith in Garofalo as one of the team leaders.
“Me, Ben Panitz and Chris Smith are going to be the team captains this season,” Garofalo said. “We want to maintain a strong team discipline.”
Ierulli instills a “play for the man next to you” philosophy. It is that strategy that seems to have ignited a new motivation on the Broncos turf.
“Coach told us we can either sulk about our 2-8 season last year or use it as motivation,” Garofalo said.
Last season’s All-Conference First Team member Garofalo has attracted the attention of Air Force, Western Kentucky and Stetson University.
“All of the schools interested in me are high academic schools,” said Garofalo, who plans on visiting them soon. “I like Air Force and Stetson, because they are high in academics and set you up for life after football.”
Garofalo is equally as strong in the classroom, posting a 3.7 GPA thus far, and plans to study construction engineering or business.
The current focus for Garofalo is getting ready for his final season as a Bronco. “Our goal is to return a district championship to the school,” he said.
Garofalo’s leadership ability has developed over the past three years, and Ierulli recognizes that by placing him in a mentoring role. The Broncos have been strong in the weight room under the guidance of Ierulli and the team captains.
“I do a lot of work with Chris and Ben and strive to see what we can do better,” Garofalo said. “We keep using that 2-8 season as our motivation, and we have taken that to heart.”
Garofalo clearly has the potential to do big things this season with the Broncos, and will likely continue that success at the next level after graduation. He plans to give a verbal commitment in the coming months.
For the time being, though, the dead aim in his cross-hairs is on getting the Broncos back on track to contend for a district title.
“I think we can definitely be contenders this season,” he said. “We have a competitive schedule again but an experienced offensive and defensive line this season.”
The Broncos will host perennial powerhouse Fort Pierce Central High School in a kickoff classic on Friday, Aug. 19 at 7 p.m.
ABOVE: Palm Beach Central offensive tackle Michael Garofalo gets ready to block during spring practice.