MARION – Ryan Maniaci was expected to excel at the quarterback position for his Pleasant Spartans football team.
The expectations not only came from his coaches, his teammates and Pleasant’s fans, they also came from his family.
The son of Joe and Kari Maniaci of Marion and the Fahey Bank Male Athlete of the Month for November was to be a quarterback and that was all there was to it.
He began his signal-calling career in the fourth grade with the little Spartans football team.
Along the way, Maniaci watched his cousins Trevor and Cody Harris quarterback at Pleasant.
“My cousins influenced me,” Maniaci admitted. “So did my dad, who was a quarterback at Marion Catholic, and his dad, who was a quarterback as well. My whole family has been there and influenced me in keeping the legacy going.”
The Pleasant senior was always under the microscope and was critiqued quite often by his family members.
“When I had a bad game, I heard about it,” Maniaci said. “That was the pressure of it. But they helped me be a good quarterback.”
That he was in the 2014 season in leading Pleasant to a Mid Ohio Athletic Conference Red Division championship and into the state playoffs with an 11-1 record.
Maniaci set a school season record for passing yards with 2,018 and a mark for passing yards in a game with 481.
Voted as a team captain by his teammates, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Maniaci completed 72-of-129 passes this season and tossed 23 touchdown aerials.
He was also a threat when running the football. Maniaci accounted for nine rushing touchdowns and gained 465 yards in 61 attempts.
“He was a very unselfish player and did everything we asked of him as coaches,” said Pleasant head coach Aaron Cook.
Following the campaign, Maniaci was selected as special mention All-Ohio and to the first-team units of the All-Central District and Marion Star All-County squads.
Maniaci became the varsity Spartans’ starting quarterback when he was a junior.
“When Coach looked at me and called my number, I got the confidence I needed,” Maniaci said. “I also got confidence from my teammates.
“We got together and they said, ‘It’s go time.’ I felt at ease.”
Maniaci had a superb season despite battling ankle issues which limited his playing time late in the regular season.
“It was tough, especially with my footwork which is key for quarterback,” he said.
Maniaci had some big games during the season, but for him none was bigger than Senior Night in the final regular-season home game of his prep career.
“It was just that last go-round at home with the seniors and my teammates,” he said. “It was a cherished moment.”
Maniaci is undecided on where he will attend college and what sport he will play there. He is also a standout on the Pleasant boys basketball team.
He does, however, already know his field of study.
“I want to pursue nursing and hopefully work at Children’s Hospital with kids,” he said.
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