Baseball, known for its quirky superstitions, was James Musso’s first sport.
Transferring these curiosities to football was no problem. As a replacement quarterback for Skaneateles in his freshman year, Musso watched his seasoned teammates insist on “knocking on wood” every time a positive statement was made.
These players kept splinters of wood in their socks during practice and games. Of course, when Musso became the Lakers’ starting QB, he had to do the same.
“This piece will work.”
“We’ll win this game.”
Even Skaneateles trainer Joe Sindoni, who admitted the oddity of such a superstition, provided some assistance at the start of the 2021 fall season.
“During the (training camp), coach Sindoni found a piece of wood from construction near our grass pitch,” said Musso. “He brought it to me and said, ‘That could be a sign.’ So I kept it in my locker every game and in my sock every time I train.
“Anything anyone could say that could potentially hex us, I would knock on my head and knock on the wood.”
Sindoni said: “(Musso) is the most superstitious player I’ve coached in 23 years. He’s definitely a different kind.”
Nothing could bewitch Musso this season. The Senior Signal Caller led the Skaneateles to the Section III Class C Championship and to an appearance at the New York State Tournament, collecting a total of 34 touchdowns.
Musso, the youngest in a stellar line of Skaneateles quarterbacks, took over the position at a young age. He started his soccer career in kindergarten with the Auburn Popwarner program and played mostly receivers in his first few seasons. After joining Skaneateles, youth coaches Mike Wamp and Shawn Comer – who would later become assistants on Sindoni’s college team – noticed that Musso had a knack for throwing.
It helped that Musso had experience as a baseball pitcher which helped him learn to throw. But making the transition from baseball throwing to football isn’t the easiest. As a pitcher, as Sindoni has described, everything from tucking up to crotch is long, whereas in soccer the throws are usually made in a confined space.
“As a younger kid, it’s a little more difficult to learn and develop because your publications are different,” Musso said. “In baseball, you want to move your arm around and throw as hard as you can. In soccer, it’s more of a quick release, like a movement of the wrist. When I was younger I think I struggled with it … but I got used to it and settled in. “
Musso was also fortunate enough to sit on the front row of the Skaneateles section title teams in 2017 and 2018 – first as an eighth grader when he mapped offensive games, and then as a freshman when he replaced former New York state player from. was the year Patrick Hackler.
When it was Musso’s turn in the sophomore year, he shone. In his first start at university, he threw seven touchdown passes in only 16 pass attempts in a win over Holland Patent. Musso threw 23 touchdowns in his first four games, and the Lakers scored four straight wins at the start of the 2019 season.
“The first thing that stood out about him as a player is that he had a great arm,” said Sindoni. “He throws the ball with closer spin than any kid I’ve had and it was natural. He has a natural throwing motion and big hands.
“When we beat Canastota in 2019 they were really, really good. The wind must have been 40 mph and (Canastota) couldn’t make a pass, but James could throw it. The wind didn’t really bother him.”
Musso admits that the Skaneateles’ hot start created too much confidence for the team and the humble cake was delivered in the second half of the season. The Lakers lost three of their next four games, and that served as motivation to get into his junior year.
The junior year did not go as planned. Due to COVID-19 concerns, high school football was postponed to the spring sports season and Skaneateles were only able to play three games.
Musso thought positively about the odd season. During the closure, Lakers players would gather to practice in the village park due to the unavailability of school facilities or meet at each other’s homes several times a week to lift weight.
This work was immediately translated into Musso’s senior season. Skaneateles won its first nine games of the year, defeating General Brown in the Section III title game, behind Musso’s three touchdowns and 149 yards in just 14 tries.
“This year was a highlight of what we had been working on towards the end of the 2019 season when we were being pushed around,” said Sindoni. “There has been a lot of encouragement, and much of it is James’ leadership.”
Given Musso’s large arm and ability to throw despite its unusual size for a quarterback, what impresses Sindoni most is that Musso can hold an infinite amount of information.
“This year I realized that he was taking in everything, right down to the equipment we wore every day or what games we played,” said Sindoni. “I wouldn’t say it’s a photographic memory. When something is important to you, you pay more attention to it and dial in more than anything else.
“He’s still going to send random text messages about a game he could have made, that could have won a game. This is so important to him, and that’s why he remembers everything. We talked about our mantra of being ‘all in’. ‘ He is the personification of it. “
A three-sport athlete, Musso is currently in basketball season and will play baseball for the Skaneateles in the spring. He will then continue his baseball career at Le Moyne College.
His football career, apart from pickup games with other alumni, is over. Musso admits that there are “a lot of mixed feelings” about saying goodbye to a sport he has played since childhood.
“You don’t really realize how fun it is until it’s over. We’ve talked to some youth teams all year and I remember saying to the kids, ‘We all wish we could be in your position . Just have fun. ‘”Said Musso. “Looking back it was an amazing ride and we had a lot of fun. I have to thank my team-mates and coaches very much … it was tough, but it was a lot of fun. I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Citizen’s Football All-Stars 2021
Football All-Stars in Fall 2021: Mekhi Bailey, Auburn
Mekhi Bailey, Auburn
Football All-Stars in Fall 2021: Justin Baldwin, Cato-Meridian
Justin Baldwin, Cato Meridian
Football All-Stars in Fall 2021: Tyler Bell, Port Byron / Union Springs
Tyler Bell, Port Byron / Union Springs
Football All-Stars in Fall 2021: Elijah Benson, Auburn
Elijah Benson, Auburn
Kevin Rivoli, The Citizen
All-Stars in Fall 2021: Avante Brown, Jordan-Elbridge
Avante Brown, Jordan-Elbridge
Football All-Stars in Fall 2021: Grayson Brunelle, Skaneateles
Grayson Brunelle, Skaneateles
Football all-stars in autumn 2021: Mason Crandall, Cato-Meridian
Mason Crandall, Cato Meridian
Football all-stars in autumn 2021: Will Feeney, Skaneateles
Will Feeney, Skaneateles
Football All Stars Fall 2021: Luke Landis, Moravia
Luke Landis, Moravia
All-Stars in Fall 2021: AJ Lawton, Moravia
AJ Lawton, Moravia
Fall 2021 Football All-Stars: Parker McBride, Weedsport
Parker McBride, Weedsport
Football all-stars in autumn 2021: James Musso, Skaneateles
James Musso, Skaneateles
Kevin Rivoli, The Citizen
Football all-stars in autumn 2021: Cody Nesbitt, Skaneateles
Cody Nesbitt, Skaneateles
Football All-Stars in Fall 2021: Caleb Rouse, Jordan-Elbridge
Caleb Rouse, Jordan-Elbridge
Fall 2021 Football All-Stars: Andrew Seward, Weedsport
Andrew Seward, Weedsport
Football All-Stars in Fall 2021: DeSean Strachan, Auburn
DeSean Strachan, Auburn
Football All-Stars in Fall 2021: Bo Turo, Cato Meridian
Bo Turo, Cato Meridian
Football all-stars in autumn 2021: Kaleb Winters, Moravia
Kaleb Winters, Moravia