C.W. Post football finished the 2010 season 7-4, the most wins the program has had since 2006. Among the difference makers was freshman Chris DiIorio, who graduated from Sachem East last season as one of the school's all-time great athletes.
Originally slotted as a special teams player, DiIorio, who hails from Holtsville, earned his way onto the depth chart as a linebacker and made an impact from day one, finishing the season sixth on the team with 43 total tackles.
At Sachem, DiIorio was a two-sport athlete, and ranks second all-time in wrestling history with 117 career victories. He was a county champion his senior year in the 189-pound weight class and set a school record with 44 wins in a season. He was also named the inaugural for East.
Sachem Patch caught up with him this week in a Facebook chat ...
Chris R. Vaccaro: So you're already done with your freshman season of college football. Was it everything you hoped for?
Chris DiIorio: In the beginning of the year, I was expecting just to be on special teams but then as camp went on coaches were excited in what they saw in me and a couple of injuries [to others] kind of helped spark me.
CRV: In looking at the stats, you finished the season sixth on the team with 43 total tackles. For a freshman, that's impressive. When did you start to realize playing college football isn't difficult if you're a good enough athlete?
CD: I started my first game against California of Pennsylvania and they were ranked fourth in the nation for Division II. These guys were very big unlike high school, which I was just playing last year, but after that game I finally realized that it's not that hard because at first the speed was a lot different then I was used too but after a few games I caught up to speed quick.
CRV: How about practices, conditioning and the overall style of play? Was it tough to adjust at first, compared to playing high school football?
CD: In camp we had to do 16 110-yard sprints under 15 seconds, so throughout the summer I was working out and working on conditioning. It was pretty tough adjusting because high school workouts are not as intense as college level workouts so I had to push myself much harder.
CRV: Speaking of high school, did you follow Sachem East's season in 2010?
CD: Unfortunately I did. It was a rough season for them. They just never had anything going for them when I saw team play. It was all about emotion and none of the kids really wanted to work hard and be out there and play.
CRV: was relieved of his coaching duties this off-season. What are your thoughts about that and what kind of impact did he have on your playing career?
CD: I thought coach Harvey was a good coach but he could never put people and plays together to make a good season. I feel bad for him because he was the coach who helped me get to the college I'm at now, so I hope the best for him.
CRV: You were at the East wrestling dual on Wednesday. What's it like to be back at the school? And, do you miss wrestling?
CD: It was great to be back seeing my team that I was on do great without me. Honestly, it was a difficult decision between playing football and wrestling in college, but I do miss it.
CRV: How close were you to hitting the mat in college instead of the gridiron?
CD: Very close. I had coaches from Hofstra trying to bring me in but I guess since I was little I always wanted to play college football. That's the reason I decided on the gridiron.
CRV: In high school you played both ways in football. Do you think there's a chance you'll play any offense at Post?
CD: Maybe down the line if they need me, but I think they will just use me for defense. That would be sick though.
CRV: It must be nice to be so close to home that your family and friends can come to watch you play. How has that been and what has the overall college experience been like, as well?
CD: It's good to be close to home because whenever there's nothing to do on campus I can go home and relax there knowing that its only a half hour drive back. The first semester is over and college was fun, but now it's just normal to me.
CRV: Did you set any personal goals for yourself on the football field this season? And, did you expand on them for next year?
CD: My one goal was to start and I achieved that, but my goal next year, as you said before by mentioning that I was sixth on the team in tackles, is that I want to be in the top three. I know I'm setting high standards, but that's the only way I will improve throughout my years.
CRV: There are other Sachem alums on the Post team. What's your relationship with all of them? Do you find yourself talking and hanging out with them more than the others at times?
CD: Joe Botti and I have been friends since high school. Our friendship has just been getting better even though we're on opposite sides of the ball. Its' still a lot of fun going against the offense in practice and cheering for the offense and him in games.
CRV: Looking back on your first season, is there one play that is the most memorable?
CD: In an away game after two losses that were back-to-back, we went into triple overtime coming out with the victory [against West Chester University of Pennsylvania] but the play I remember is me striping the ball out of the running back's hand because if I didn't they would have won the game. Another play was in the next game against Millersville. I stripped the ball again, and middle linebacker Ronnie Modik scooped up the ball and scored a 60-yard touchdown.
CRV: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. I appreciate it. Have a happy holidays!
CD: Yeah, no problem. Thanks and you too.