PODCAST: E9 Netcong’s Johnny Giannantonio Shares His Record Breaking Football Story

Welcome to Episode Number 9 of the Morris Sussex Sports Podcast. If you’ve been enjoying these podcast interviews, please don’t keep this a secret. Tell your friends and make sure you subscribe via iTunes if you have an iPhone or Stitcher and Google Play if you have an Android…that’s how you don’t miss any future episodes. Feel free to leave us a review if you feel so inspired too.

I’m very excited to deliver this week’s interview because I don’t know if many of you listening even were aware of the football legend we have living right in our backyard in Morris County. John Giannantonio, or better known as Johnny G, from who spent his playing days at the now closed Netcong HS, holds several major national high school football records – including yards rushed in a season, yards rushed in a game and average yards rushed per game for the season.

In 1950, Johnny G rushed for an amazing 4,756 yards and 41 touchdowns. Oh yeah, and that is only in an 8-game schedule. In case you are trying to do the math, that’s 594.5 average yards per game. In a game against Mountain Lakes that year, he rushed for 754 yards and nine touchdowns in a 61–0 win. So his 4,756 yards for the season, 594.5 average yards per game and 754-yards against Mountain Lakes are all national records.

Oh wait, it gets better! He was only a sophomore that weighed 137-pounds that season. After high school, Johnny went on to play at Villa Nova after being a major college prospect. Then spent a long career as a middle school teacher in Rockaway. Today he and his wife Fran still reside in Netcong. In this interview, Johnny walks through his incredible journey.

*I do want to ask for a little technical patience towards the latter part of the interview. Lenape Valley coach Don Smolyn and Johnny’s wife Fran were also joining us for the interview and I did not have them mic’d which is on me. So there are parts that may be a little difficult to hear as they added some tidbits here in there about Johnny’s career. This did not take away from this interview at all but I just wanted to give you a heads up why certain parts may be difficult to hear.

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Johnny Giannantonio receives a cake in his honor after his record breaking sophomore season in 1950 (photo courtesy of the Giannantonio family).

With Giannantonia carrying the ball, the Netcong Indians outscored it’s opponents 327-42 in their perfect season (photo courtesy of the Giannantonio family).

Here Johnny out maneuvers five defenders in a night game in 1950 (photo courtesy of the Giannantonio family).

Johnny was a threat running the ball, returning kids or as a receiver (photo courtesy of the Giannantonio family).

Here is a signed letter from Notre Dame legendary coach Frank Leahy courting Johnny in 1951 (photo courtesy of the Giannantonio family).

Johnny G. made 1st Team All State for his on the field heroics (photo courtesy of the Giannantonio family).

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