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Alvirne football’s Alex Giuffrida personifies Broncos’ toughness

HUDSON – On an Alvirne High School football roster riddled with character-laden tone-setters, Alex Giuffrida might resound the loudest.

“I think it’s a grinding team, there’s no quit in us. There’s a fight in them,” said coach Tarek Rothe of his Broncos, who play at Portsmouth vs. St. Thomas on Saturday (3:30) in the Division II state semifinals.

“The Milford coach (Keith Jones) was nice enough last week, he told us we were the toughest team they have played all season. I take that to heart. I like to be tough. I like to be gritty. By far, Alex is one of our best tacklers, and he’s definitely our toughest running back.”

Giuffrida, a junior running back/linebacker, hits the semis after an absolute huge game against the Spartans in the quarters.

A week after being carved up by Milford, Alvirne flaunted all that grit and toughness, stifling the running game when it counted in the semis, holding the Spartans under four yards per play.

It was a challenge, one Giuffrida felt his team was more than ready for.

“I knew it was going to be a challenge. But I think we’re pretty physical out there,” said Giuffrida. “We’re out there to play hard. If they want to run the same play over and over, we’re going to meet you in the hole. That’s all it is, that’s how we play.”

That hard-nosed attitude suits the Broncos just fine, although the toughness is based deep in history.

This is a football program that hasn’t seen much success at all in its history.

“They are tired of losing,” said Rothe. “They’re just not going to do that anymore.”

Losing was extremely unfamiliar to Giuffrida, who started at linebacker and saw a handful of snaps for an Alvirne squad that was 2-7 a year ago in Division I.

“That was a good experience last year. I learned how to deal with losing. In the past I haven’t had a losing season at all in football,” Giuffrida said. “Last year was my first one ever. It made me work a lot harder for this year.”

That work actually began in 2017.

“From the last day of football last year we were in the weight room, and we still are,” he said.

Rothe was watching, and when he took over, it was clear to see from his perspective that Giuffrida, who missed some time midseason with an ankle sprain but has since returned to full strength, would be a go-to guy this fall.

“When I was the freshman coach with these juniors, I saw what he was doing at that level,” said Rothe. “Then I see him get in the weight room for two straight summers. I see the things he does in the weight room, how hard he prepares. I fully expected it.”

Giuffrida embraces it. This is only high school sport. He’s all in.

“I love getting the football, being the guy they can count on,” he said.

This week, St. Thomas, a heavy passing offense, presents a different test for Giuffrida.

His role defensively could be lessened with the Saints’ spread.

But on the other side of the football?

“Let’s say we expect him to take a more offensive role this week,” said Rothe.

The Broncos will be hoping that thanks to Giuffrida, St. Thomas gets the message.