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Waverly 8th grader defies expectations as starting QB

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When you think of a high school varsity football team, more times than not you think of the roster having a majority of the players being in 11th and 12th grade, with the occasional 10th grader thrown in there on rare occasions. What if we told you that an 8th grader was in the starting line-up for the Waverly Wolverines, and he was the leader on their offensive unit.

Joe Tomasso has perhaps been one of the most talked about players in Section IV this season, and for good reason. Moving up into Class B this year, the team as a whole had enough on their plate going up against tougher schools like Maine-Endwell and Chenango Forks. If this was not going to be a challenge enough, putting a 14-year old under center on a varsity football team was sure going to shake things up a bit.

"It's been quite an experience." Says Wolverines Senior Running back Thomas Price. 

Head Coach Jason Miller says it was a tough sell to get Joe's parents on board for this journey, but after explaining the potential that was in Joe, there was no looking back. In week one of this season, the Wolverines, piloted by a young Joe Tomasso, were put to the test against Class-A Union-Endicott, a team that was bigger both physically, and in roster size.

"The first game, I was a nervous wreck. I told Jason (Miller), if he brakes a leg in this first game they're going to hate you and me." Says Joe Tomasso Sr.

Despite the pre-game frights, Tomasso went out on the gridiron and led the Wolverines to a 23-22 victory over Union-Endicott. Being down for a majority of the game, Tomasso was the deciding factor in the final quarter of play, where he threw two touchdowns to seal the victory.

The team has had its fair share of ups and downs this season, as they currently sit in 3rd place in their division with an overall record of 3-3.

Despite being thrown into this leadership role at such a young age, Joe has still managed to teach his team of upperclassmen valuable lessons.

“He keeps the right mindset. He doesn’t let anything bother him, or when he messes up or makes a mistake, he doesn’t let that get to him and affect his game.” Says Price.

Tomasso comes from a line of athletes in his family. Both of his parents, Joe Tomasso Sr. and Gwen (Lynch) Tomasso, were star athletes at Waverly High School. Joe Sr. played golf for the Wolverines and eventually went on to play Division-III golf at the University of Rochester. Gwen played volleyball and held records in track that had not been broken for years after she set them.

The eldest of the three Tomasso children, Alex, currently plays Division-I golf at Merrimack College in Boston. The middle child Sidney is an all-start basketball player currently in her senior year at Waverly. Then there is the youngest, Joe Jr. Aside from football, Joe is a three-sport athlete where he also plays basketball and baseball for the Wolverines.

Waverly's remaining schedule is as follows:

10/17: Norwich 

10/24: Chenango Forks