Five 45-pound plates rested on each side of a 45-pound metal bar, which Richie Rosabella hoisted over his shoulders and then lowered into a squat.As Rosabella rose, placing the 495 pounds back on the rack, Barron Collier football coach Billy Sparacio marveled at his 6-foot-1, 270-pound left offensive tackle.”He’s the toughest animal I’ve been around,” Sparacio said of the senior. “Week in and week out, he’s an extremely intense kid. He has a tremendous amount of passion for everything he does.
“He’s a motivator, with a huge motor. He loves to compete. He wants to go against the best.”The Cougars were denied such an opportunity last season, when they finished with a 6-4 record and did not make the Class 5A state playoffs.
Rosabella and Sparacio said they have done everything in their power to make sure that that doesn’t happen again.”I think if we play as a team, we’ll better our record,” Rosabella said.Rosabella will be blocking for senior running back Moises Plancher, who rushed for 1,455 yards and 21 touchdowns last season.
“He can run people over, or he can shake them,” Rosabella said. “On film, it’s fun to watch him.”While Plancher has earned plenty of accolades, so has Rosabella, who was named Class 5A third-team All-State last season.
“It doesn’t matter what people think about me,” Rosabella said. “It doesn’t matter how good I was as a junior. My goals are to get first-team All-State. I got third-team All-State last year.”I’ve been working really hard. I’m trying to lead the team.”Rosabella also has emerged as a leader on the Cougars’ wrestling team. He placed second in the state’s heavyweight division last year, losing the title match by a 4-3 decision.
Rosabella calls winning a state wrestling championship “priority No. 2.” He said, “My No. 1 goal is getting to college for football. I’m real interested in Wake Forest.”The University of Central Florida and several other schools have expressed interest in Rosabella, who hopes to major in physical therapy or sports medicine.
“He’s a great kid,” Sparacio said. “He’s one of the nicest kids I’ve been around. They’re all great kids.”
News-Press file photo* Barron Collier quarterback Nick Caputo looked sharp against DeSoto County in his team’s preseason classic. Caputo, a junior, went 5-for-7 for 61 yards and a score in the Cougars’ victory.