As a member of Misericordia University's NCAA playoff baseball team, Frank Santarsiero grew accustomed to experiencing big moments during his first two college seasons.
But nothing gave him a greater thrill than a big run down the football field and into the end zone again.
"I really just missed football a lot," said Santarsiero, a junior with sophomore eligibility and a former two-sport standout at Dunmore High School.
Angelo Scaffido just missed home.
He played as a college freshman at Huntington College in Alabama after playing some solid high school ball at Wyoming Valley West. Then Scaffido, from Swoyersville, decided to transfer to Misericordia – where his dad is a director of security and where his family could watch him regularly.
On the track and field team.
"My first thing, I'm a javelin thrower," Scaffido said. "I was going to do track."
His thinking changed tracks, though, when Misericordia announced last year it was starting a football team.
"I decided to go for it," Scaffido said, "be a part of history."
Some of Misericordia's first football team may have figured their football days were a thing of the past.
But they were revived by Misericordia's decision to start up football.
It gave a whole bunch of incoming freshman a chance to feel like pioneers. It gave inside linebackers coach Ted Jackson something to do on Saturday afternoons this year after he lost his long-time head coaching job at Dallas High School.
Mostly, though, it gave some of the older players on the young team new life.
"I thought it would be great to have the opportunity to play again," Santarsiero, also a junior, said.
They want to win badly, and not next year or the year after.
"Nobody here is going to believe in, ‘It's the first year, we're not going to be that good,'" Scaffido said. "We're planning on having a winning season."
That was obvious by the way they played an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday.
At one point, Santarsiero broke free on a 60-some-yard touchdown run.
"I feel really good," Santarsiero said. "It's been a couple years. It comes right back to you."
Before that, the last time he played competitive football was back in August of 2010 in the Dream Game, the Lackawanna Conference's All-Star game for high school seniors.
"I was happy for Frankie on that play," said Cougars head coach Mark Ross, who wasn't as happy about some over-pursuit by the defense that set up the scoring burst. "He's a great kid. It's good to see him have success."
Scaffido felt a sense of accomplishment with just the chance to tackle some teammates.
"He's a very good athlete, good player," Ross said. "He can be an impact-type player for us. He's not there yet, but he's got a lot of potential."
The last competitive football game for Scaffido before Saturday came at the end of Hunington's 2010 season, so he quickly became aware of what he'd been missing.
"An adrenalin rush," Scaffido called it. "It felt like a relief. You love the feeling of the first hit of the game."
The first football season at Misericordia promises more hits, and hitting holes, to come for Scaffido and Santarsiero. Nothing compares to the first time in a long time.
Paul Sokoloski is a Times Leader sports columnist. You may reach him at 970-7109 or email him at [email protected].