Camden Catholic entered the football season with optimism after coming off a 5-5 year, but the Irish also had the least amount of experience at the most important position.

First-year coach Gil Brooks wasn't concerned in the least.

When his projected starter, Tom Flacco, transferred over the summer, Brooks didn't think twice about naming somebody who never played the position before - on any level - as his starter.

That's because Brooks understood that senior Pete Galiano's intelligence, leadership, and athletic ability would make up for the fact that his first snap at the position in a real game came on Saturday.

Galiano and Camden Catholic did just fine, scoring a 55-6 win against an overmatched Gloucester Catholic team. While it's premature to make conclusions based on a rout of that proportion, Galiano looked awfully comfortable under center.

In fact, he looked comfortable in a number of his multiple positions. Galiano is also the starting strong safety and punter and holds for field goals.

He passed for two touchdowns, returned a fumble for another, and was the quintessential field general on both sides of the ball. As a strong safety, he's also the quarterback of the defense and was an all-conference selection there last year.

"He is just a special player," Brooks said of Galiano. "He is so bright and is instinctively a leader, and we wanted a senior with his qualities there."

And it doesn't even matter that Galiano is the smallest player on the team, listed at 5-foot-7 and 181 pounds.

"What I love about Pete is that he is such a competitor," Brooks said. "He is on the level of Jarred Alwan as a competitor.


Alwan, a 6-1, 220-pound junior running back-linebacker, will be among the top recruits from the junior class. Brooks says the sky is the limit for Alwan as far as being recruited.

Galiano, whose size doesn't work in his favor in the recruiting handbook, could have college options in football or baseball, where he is a standout centerfielder.

He's also a member of the National Honor Society, so picking up such a complex position as quarterback has been difficult but manageable.

"I liked taking the challenge and seeing what I could do with it," Galiano said.

Brooks said that quarterback coach Michael Looney has been a major help in tutoring his new signal-caller and that Galiano has been an impressive pupil.

Adding to the difficulty is that Galiano didn't join the team in the beginning of summer workouts because he was competing for Haddon Heights' Senior American Legion baseball team, helping it reach the postseason.

Galiano's first pass as a quarterback on any level (in a game that counted) went for a 68-yard touchdown to Thomas Wescott in the first minute of the first quarter against Gloucester Catholic. That set the tone for a sterling debut.

"I still have a long way to go, and it has been a difficult adjustment, but I've gotten a lot of great instruction," said Galiano, who was a wide receiver last season.

Afterward, Galiano received one of the game balls from Brooks, who told the team he felt his senior was among the more underrated players in South Jersey.

Of course, they don't underrate him at Camden Catholic. Brooks and his staff realize that finding somebody with all of Galiano's intangibles is almost as rare as having a quarterback take his first snap ever as a senior.

Camden Catholic 26 9 14 6 – 55

Gloucester Catholic 0 6 0 0 – 6

CC: Wescott 68 pass from Galiano (Kamara kick)

CC: Alwan 47 run (run failed)

CC: Wescott 50 punt return (run failed)

CC: Alwan 3 fumble return (Kamara kick)

CC: Safety (Jackson tackled Hiester in the end zone)

GC: DeLaurentis 26 run (run failed)

CC: Blandon 1 run (Kamara kick)

CC: Miller 14 pass from Galiano (Kamara kick)

CC: Galiano 20 fumble return (Kamara kick)

CC: Madalion recover fumble in end zone (kick failed)