Here’s my story from today’s Journal News on New Rochelle senior Ray Ganley:
Ganley soon had a black-and-blue to prove the collision was no joke, but, at the time, he just started laughing. His mom, Dawn, nicknamed him “Macho” and just about everyone else has known Ganley by the monicker ever since.
“People don’t even know my name is Ray sometimes,” Ganley said. “My mom even calls me Macho.”
It is a fitting title for New Rochelle’s physical and emotional leader, a senior two-way linemen who plays injured, plays hard and plays to and perhaps beyond the limits of a 6-foot-2 frame that carries a shade more than 200 pounds.
“You want 15 of him,” said coach Lou DiRienzo, whose team meets Shaker Saturday night in the state semifinals. “If you’ve got 15 of him, you could conquer the world.
“He gets every single ounce of juice that’s in the orange.”
Ganley derives his passion from his love of football and out of respect for his family. His mother never went to college, but raised Ray and his sister as a single parent, working as hard as she could to move them from the Bronx to New Rochelle in search of a better education.
Dawn, a hardcore Giants fan, said she taught her son about football at the age of 2, and has juggled work with volunteering at the Boys & Girls Club and as a team mom since Ray’s days in New Rochelle’s Youth Tackle League.
“I just think I saw people before me who worked hard,” Ganley said. “They people who work hard, they usually make it somewhere.”
Dawn Ganley has tried to instill that mentality in her children, but she remains grateful to the role models who surrounded him, like her father, Steve, who passed away in June, and members of the New Rochelle football family.
She said coaches and former stars like Ray Rice, Courtney Greene and Glenroy Lee all showed interest in her Macho.
“Every time I see Ray’s mom, Janet, I cry,” Dawn said. “Ray and Courtney and Glen, they’ve been talking to my son since he was 7. All of those talks have made him work hard. Every time I see them, I’m grateful.”
Ganley’s passion matches that of those New Rochelle greats. He devours film and takes pride in eliminating mistakes. On the field, DiRienzo will identify the expected level of intensity for each drill, knowing Ganley will exceed it if the coach isn’t careful.
“Otherwise he’s going full speed, everybody else is going half speed and kids are going to get hurt,” DiRienzo said.
For the second half of this season, that has meant channeling that maniacal competitiveness on a bad wheel. Ganley tore his meniscus on Oct. 27, but has shunned surgery and played through it the last four games. He earned defensive MVP honors in the last two and helped the defense pitch one of its six shutouts the week prior.
All told, New Rochelle has allowed just 41 points in 10 games this season, but Ganley was on the sideline with an injury for 21 of them, all of which were scored in the fourth quarter of a non-league loss to North Bergen.
“It’s decent. It’s fine,” he said. “I tape it up and try not to think about it. I’m all good once the adrenaline starts pumping.”
And when it comes to Macho and football, when isn’t it?