Two games in four days didn’t seem to slow Giovanni Spataro. The Lakeland senior running back helped the Chiefs post victories over Wilkes-Barre Area and Riverside to improve to 3-0.
Against Wilkes-Barre Area, Spataro returned a fumble 95 yards for a touchdown, ran 21 times for 110 yards and also had an interception as Lakeland pulled out a 27-26 victory. The Chiefs scored on a punt return as time expired, then made the winning two-point conversion.
Four days later against Riverside, he carried 16 times for 196 yards and four touchdowns in a 55-25 triumph.
Here is more from Spataro’s Athlete of the Week interview:
Family: Father, Anthony; mother, Julie; brothers, Rocco, Antonio, Dominico
Other sports I play: Track — 100 meters, discus, shot put
Favorite teams: Pittsburgh Steelers, Penn State
Favorite food: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
Athletes I admire: Christian McCaffrey. For how big he is (5-foot-11), he is so explosive and his hands are great. Also Saquon Barkley. His quickness and strength, he’s so hard to stop.
Superstitions and rituals: I pray before every game.
Three people I’d like to have dinner with: Saquon Barkley, rapper Young Thug, my mom
Against Wilkes-Barre Area, after Nick Mancuso scored on a punt return with no time remaining, did you and your teammates have to convince the coaches to go for the two-point conversion and the win? No, we were going for two immediately. It was huge. It was a good play call.
Four days after beating Wilkes-Barre Area, you had to face Riverside. The offense piled up 525 yards in 48 plays. Were you surprised because of the short turnaround to get ready for them? We came out a little sluggish, but I wasn’t surprised. Our offensive line was physical and we have good skill players.
Talk about your performance in that game. Our offensive line did a great job blocking and I made a couple of guys miss; that’s a running back’s job. I was a little sluggish and my legs were sore, but we still did well.
The two wins set up a big game Friday night against Dunmore. What do you have to do to be successful against the Bucks? We need to stop their running game, which is something our defense does well. If we can stop their run game, we should be all right.
Earlier this season, you became the school’s career rushing leader. What does that mean to you? All the great running backs to come through Lakeland and to know you’ve got the No. 1 spot, it’s very cool. It became a goal of mine at the end of my sophomore year. I thought I could get it and I finally did.
Your younger brother Dominico starts at quarterback. What do you think of the job he’s doing and what’s it like playing with him? He’s doing a great job. He’s respected in the huddle and he communicates the plays well. He’s throwing the ball well and accurate and our wide receivers are getting open and making great plays. It’s sweet to get to play with him. We have good chemistry with each other.
Post-graduation plans: To go to college. I’d like to get into physical therapy. I’m thinking about playing football. I think it would be a lot of fun and a good experience.
During more than 30 years at The Times-Tribune, Scott has covered everything from high schools to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. His current beats include motor sports, local colleges, high school cross country and high school baseball. He also is a copy editor and page designer. His articles have won awards from the Associated Press Sports Editors, American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association, Eastern Motorsports Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists Keystone Pro Chapter and the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association Keystone Press. He also has been honored by the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League and the Minor League Football Alliance. In 2016, he was presented the Media Service Award by the Northeastern Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. A Long Island, New York, native, Scott graduated from the University of Scranton in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in communications. He lives in Peckville with his wife, Andrea, and daughters, Bridget and Emily. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100, x5109; or @swalshTT on Twitter