DARTMOUTH, MA (WPRI) — This week’s Cardi’s Furniture & Mattresses Hometown Sports Hero is Dante Aviles-Santos.
The UMass-Dartmouth Sophomore earned the MASCAC Offensive Rookie of the Year, passing for 2,221 yards with 25 TDs while adding another 8 rushing scores helping the Corsairs to their first postseason win in 18 years. The Cumberland graduate stepped into the starting spot after the Reigning Offensive Player of the Year, Stephen Gacioch, was hurt in the season opener.
“Coming in as a Freshman, you don’t think you’re going to play, but you come in tune and prepare like you are going to play every week,” Aviles-Santos said. “And that’s what I tried to do. Going into Husson, you like to think of the what-ifs, and the God forbids, but in this case, you didn’t want to think about it the way it happened with Stephen. You just wanted it to be that we’re up and now you’re going into the game, instead of our guy and our leader going down. But like I said, I got to credit the guys around me, who when I stepped into the role, did nothing but love me and just stand by my side and rally around me.”
Dante’s success in his debut season would seem to cement him as the starter going forward, but he knows how quickly things can change at the Quarterback position. And the Corsair coaching staff plans to continue to challenge him, on and off the field.
“It does and we tell him all the time, we’re going to recruit one better than him, all the time,” said UMass-Dartmouth Head Coach Mark Robichaud. “To keep him motivated and working hard.”
“You always want to recruit better talent. You want to keep the guys ahead of them motivated and it’s a good fuel to the fire because if they are going to recruit guys better than me, then I’ve got to be better, so I can hold my spot. I can’t get complacent. I have to work hard every day and like our motto says, ‘Win the rep, go 1-0 every day.”
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