Joe Seccareccia enjoys football, and he especially enjoys playing quarterback.
That latter passion is a major reason the three-year starting QB and safety from Bangor High School will play college football beginning this fall at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, Conn.
“One of the biggest things for me was I wanted to keep playing quarterback,” said Seccareccia, who added he has accepted a partial scholarship from the NCAA Division II school. “When they put their offer out there and told me I’d get the chance to play quarterback, that made my decision for me.
“The coaches there opened up to me right away, showing me game films of what they do offensively. They play a pro-style shotgun offense, and I think that’s the type of system I play best in.”
Seccareccia made his decision to join SCSU on Sunday, culminating an off-season focused on rehabilitating an injured shoulder that hampered his final year of football at Bangor and forced him out of playing for the Rams’ hockey team this winter.
“Joe’s got a huge up side,” said Bangor football coach Mark Hackett. “I hope the best for him.”
Seccareccia will join some familiar faces at Southern Connecticut, which finished last season with a 6-4 overall record and a 6-2 mark in the Northeast 10 Conference. The nine-team football league also includes American International College, Bentley, Merrimack, Assumption, Stonehill, Saint Anselm, Pace and the University of New Haven — the other school Seccareccia considered before making his final choice.
His oldest brother, Robert, is an offensive tackle who will return to SCSU for his senior season after playing in all 10 games for coach Rich Cavanaugh’s Owls last fall.
“I’ve never been down there to see him play because I was always sore from playing games here on Friday night,” said Seccareccia. “My parents would leave early in the morning Saturday for my brother’s games, and I wasn’t quite ready to get up at that point.”
Running back Jack Mallis, who led Windham High School to a 35-21 victory over Seccareccia and Bangor in the 2009 Class A state final, also is on the SCSU roster after redshirting as a freshman while former Bonny Eagle of Standish star John Weichman, a senior, handled most of the rushing duties.
The 6-foot-6 Seccareccia, an honor roll student and one of his football team’s captains, helped Bangor win its second straight Eastern Maine Class A title last fall, passing for more than 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns and earning first-team All-Pine Tree Conference recognition on defense.
But it was a season also marred by injury, particularly a separated left (non-throwing) shoulder that caused him to miss parts of several games. It did not prevent him from teaming with University of Maine-bound senior running back Josiah Hartley to lead the Rams to a 10-2 record.
“Joe got hurt in the Mount Ararat game, just our second or third game of the year, and even though he continued to play well and was one of the best players out there, he never really recovered completely and then he suffered the separated shoulder,” said Hackett. “But I’m just so proud of Joe for how he handled everything and the way he finished the season. That was tough for him to go through, but he showed a lot of maturity and at the same time was a great teammate.”
Seccareccia’s injury woes also may have affected his potential to earn a Division I college scholarship, which was his original hope.
“It definitely was tough, coming off my junior year when I was getting looks from Boston College, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Maine,” Seccareccia said. “I was hoping to get a scholarship from one of those schools.
“Division II was more of a backup plan at the time, but as my senior year went on it became more the reality and the biggest thing after that was where I wanted to play.”
Seccareccia’s injury did not require surgery, and he continues to work to strengthen his shoulder in preparation for preseason workouts this summer for an SCSU program coming off 10 consecutive winning seasons.
The Owls likely will return three quarterbacks from their 2010 roster — starter Kevin Lynch, who will be a senior, and two sophomores.
“At this point I’m going in there with the mentality that I want to compete for playing time,” said Seccareccia. “My first year I’ll learn the systems and I don’t know if they’ll redshirt me or not, but I’m going in there with the thought that I want to play.”
Trio at wrestling nationals
Three of Eastern Maine’s top schoolboy wrestlers are in Virginia Beach, Va., this weekend to compete in the 22nd annual NHSCA High School Wrestling Senior Nationals.
Jacob Powers of Camden Hills of Rockport and Scott Carpenter and Spencer McCormick of Calais are among more than 2,500 wrestlers from around the country who will participate in the four-day event.
Powers is the two-time defending Class B state champion at 160 pounds who was undefeated this winter until competing in the New England championships in early March.
Carpenter, competing at 130 pounds, is a three-time Class C state champion, while McCormick (145 pounds) placed second in this year’s Class C state meet after winning the state championship in his weight class as a junior.
Wrestlers check in at the Virginia Beach Convention Center on Thursday, with competition set to run from Friday through Sunday.