Jake Angelucci ’24: FootballOctober, 2023
Tensions are high as the last play of the game begins. The center snaps the ball, and Jake Angelucci ’24 springs into action. Lined up against the opposing team’s defensive tackle, Angelucci lunges up and mounts a hit that sends him sprawling onto the turf, giving the quarterback just enough time to lob the ball into the end zone. A flawless touchdown, giving the win to the Tigers!
At a young age, Angelucci was first introduced to football by his dad and his three older brothers, who were all passionate about the sport.
“[I] looked up to my father playing football,” Angelucci said. “As a kid, [football] just always felt natural.”
His first time playing football was in middle school, when Angelucci joined the Princeton Junior Football League Then, after gaining football experience in his middle school years, Angelucci joined the PHS football team. While playing, head football coach Charles Gallagher was immediately able to take notice of Angelucci’s skills from the rest of his teammates.
“Jake has done a great job [as a captain]” said Gallagher. “He understands the game... and all the positions, even like tailbacks and quarterbacks.”
Every year since he started playing, Angelucci has continued to improve, piling on experience from the previous seasons. For Angelucci, his massive strides can be credited in large part to his strength training.
“The way I improved over the years was starting off in the weight room, getting my strength up... coming in [to highschool] as a freshman I wasn’t nearly as strong as I am now. Football is a very physical sport that you need strength for,” Angelucci said.
It hasn’t always been an easy path for him though, as the team has dealt with a few struggles in previous years.
“I believe that one of the biggest problems was our practice mindset... we would go into our games, almost expecting to lose,” said Angelucci. “And this year, we're going to games expecting [good outcomes] and trying so during practice. We're getting good energy and we're getting practice [to help] us set us up for a win at the end of the week.”
A key factor in the success of the team this year is that Angelucci strives to be a positive influence for his teammates. In the off season, the football team hosts practice games to organize the team and build connections. Most important for the team is reaching out to rising 9th graders who will participate in the fall.
“It all starts off with the first contact, getting them to come out to practice,” said Angelucci. “Once they’re there, its a matter of teaching them and making them feel like a part of the team to get better.”
Along with encouraging the new players, Angelucci’s forward and positive mindset has changed the way the whole team looks at games.
“You can never be down no matter what the score or whats happening,” said Angelucci. “You have to be constantly positive, encouraging everyone to play better and put 100% out on the field.”
Along with inspiring team talks, Angelucci is a mentor to his teammates. His fellow offensive lineman Leo Sarett ’25 has learned a few things from him.
“Over the offseason, he was one of the main reasons I got into the weight room,” Sarett said. “He's always inspiring me... and he's always making me work harder... [it’s] a nice high, positive reinforcement... [that helps me] learn from [mistakes].”
Angelucci stepped into the role of captain rather seamlessly. He has been playing on the varsity level ever since his sophomore year, and he’s always been devoted to the team. The impact Angelucci left on his teammates was the reason he was voted co-captain of the team. As an outspoken player who shares advice with his teammates, Angelucci has become part of the stepping stone towards the team’s progress.
"Jake has done a great job [and] he's probably one of our more avid guys in the offseason,” said Gallagher. “[The team] was just really focused on winning that first game... [and] took that to heart. I think Jake was a big part of that.”
With the strong bonds he’s forged with the team, Angelucci has strived to become a better team player and captain for all. The Little Tigers have taken last year's progress and added on to it, finishing the season with a record of 5 - 4.
“Football teaches you a lot about life –– [it’s] a lot more than people might think,” said Angelucci. “It’s a thing where you build connections with your friends and [become] a family.”