GRANVILLE — Dante Varrasso flew under the radar as an underclass on a Granville senior soccer team in 2021. But this fall, he wasted no time — not even a single game — making his mark.
He caught the opening kick in the home opener against Clear Fork at the 10-yard line near the right sideline, wiggled a left, cut a right, powered a tackle from arms at 25, then ran another 75 yards through the end zone.
Fans at Granville’s Walter J. Hodges Stadium may not have recognized the 6-foot Junior No. 4 sports jersey because he returned no kicks and recorded only four receptions as a second-year catcher struggling with a broken wrist last fall. But the name announced over the PA system after the score certainly rang a bell.
Oh, Varrasso, the basketball player. Dante was best known around town as the star of the school basketball team. A college freshman since freshman year and a Licking County League first-team playmaker as a sophomore, he was the heart and soul of a Granville hoops team that won a share of the league title. Buckeye division last winter.
Varrasso proved to be more than just a hoop this fall. On the grid, the two-way standout caught 43 balls for 597 yards and seven touchdowns from his own quarterback and two more assists from opposing pitchers on defense after last Friday’s 37-7 win at Zanesville.
These statistics are publicly available online at digital scout, but Varrasso did not take the time to check them. When told he had five touchdown passes in the first five games, he responded like he had no idea. He didn’t care about stuffing the statistics sheets; his only goal this season is to win a regional championship.
“Dante is a team player and works very hard to perfect his craft,” said coach Wes Schroeder, whose Blue Aces (6-2, 1-1) visit Licking Valley (4-4, 1-1 ) for an LCL. – Battle of Buckeye Friday. “He’s such a good example for the youngsters, and we’re lucky to have him.”
The athletic ability has always been there, but senior quarterback Tyler Ernsberger said what stood out for Varrasso from the white lines this fall was the work he put into honing his fundamentals.
“I think Dante took a huge leap from last year to this year,” Ernsberger said. “His route, his hands and his ability to play have all improved.”
And Ernsberger surely appreciates the fact that he is the main benefactor of Varrasso’s growth. Varrasso already has almost identical to the numbers his older brother Dominic posted during his senior season in 2019.
“Knowing that when I throw it at him, he’s going to go down with it 95% of the time, that’s huge.”
Dante Varrasso lives for sport and competition. Unsurprisingly, his favorite pastime outside of football and basketball is another sport, golf. He wants to continue competing as an athlete at the next level, but he hasn’t started thinking too much about college yet. For now, he’s having fun under the lights with the same guys he grew up playing football with.
So much fun, in fact, that he just might have a new favorite sport.
“It’s been basketball my whole life,” he said. “But this year, on Friday nights, I don’t know. It’s hard to decide. »