Former Starpoint, Brockport QB is playing pro ball in Europe.
By John D'Onofrio Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Viva la Scibilia!
Former Starpoint and Brockport football star Joe Scibilia of North Tonawanda is about to begin his professional football career in Europe.
Scibilia, the son of Mike and Cindy Scibilia, is currently training with the Daughins de Nice football club of the European Football League, in preparation for their Feb. 16 opener.
Scibilia was a outstanding quarterback for head coach Al Cavagnaro’s Spartans (2006-08) and then head coach Rocco Salomone’s Golden Eagles at Brockport (2009-12), before getting a big phone call just a few months ago near the end of his record-breaking senior season.
“There was two weeks left in the season at Brockport and my coach called me in and said, ‘This team in France is looking at signing you.’ “
After getting details of the job offer, Scibilia decided to go, flying out to France on Jan. 3, where he’ll be the Dauphins’ starting QB. His American roommate, Pete Mattingly (former Butler outside linebacker), also work together as football coaches on the Dauphins’ cadet (ages 14-16) and junior (17-19) teams.
“Yeah, we get paid good,” Scibilia said, while describing the weather in southern France this week as “very nice” with temperatures in the 50s and 60s. “It’s great here. It’s still a little bit of an adjustment in some ways. They’re more laid back. The stores close early and so do places to get food. Pete and I are always hungry late at night and there’s nothing open past 8 p.m.”
Communication with coaches and teammates is pretty good as well, Scibilia said.
“All the other guys on the team are French. They just call me ‘Joe.’ Everyone speaks pretty good English, but some words they don’t know or I don’t know and we have to figure what what we’re trying to say to each other,” Scibilia said.
“The competition is laid back, like the people. We only practice twice a week. The food? Pete and I are in love with the bread here — and the croissants are amazing,” Scibilia said.
His Starpoint head coach, Al Cavagnaro, said his former three-year starting quarterback is a gifted all-around athlete.
“Halfway through his sophomore year, we brought him up to varsity. He had never even played organized football until he was in ninth grade,” Cavagnaro said. “Joe finished second in New York state as a junior in the pentathlon and the guy in front of him graduated, so Joe could have won the state championship had he not concentrated on football after his senior season at Starpoint. He was that good of an athlete.”
Scibilia helped the Spartans win five games in a row his sophomore year, including a bowl consolation game, then an okay junior year at QB gave way to a record-smashing senior season, as he broke Spartans records, among many others, for the most touchdown passes, most completions in a season and most completions in a game.
“Joe worked extremely hard with (assistant) coach (the late Bob) Boudeman. Bob’s the one who groomed him. He came up to us as a raw, but gifted kid who could throw every type of pass, just didn’t understand the game,” Cavagnaro said.
“Bob did a wonderful job with Joe’s confidence and ability. In Bob’s offense, Joe could audible at any point in any game — that’s how far he came from a kid who never played. He’s just a wonderful kid.”
The Dauphins (France’s answer to the Miami Dolphins) will open their season on Feb. 16 and will compete in the EFL through June 1 in the regular season. They are coached by Frederick Chameroy.
The timing was right for Scibilia, who plans to return to the United States at the end of this season and complete his final semester at Brockport, where he’s majoring in business.
When asked what his chances were of starting with the Dauphins, Scibilia said, “Well, I’m the only quarterback that does anything, so I ‘m pretty sure it’s me. We have a back-up quarterback on the team, but he plays receiver most of the time.”
When he’s not playing or coaching football, Scibilia, who lives in St. Laurent du Var, near Nice, said he likes to travel. He hasn’t been to Paris yet, but Les Dauphins will play there on Week 2 and he said he looks forward to seeing that historic city.
“We try to travel when we can. It’s just been a great experience so far,” he said.