East Penn Press

Sunday, January 26, 2020
PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSONFormer Emmaus football players Brett Poling and Sal Pagano recently finished their football careers at Moravian College. PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSONFormer Emmaus football players Brett Poling and Sal Pagano recently finished their football careers at Moravian College.
PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSON Moravian's Brett Poling (75) tries to get in position to block a Muhlenburg defender during Saturday's game. PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSON Moravian's Brett Poling (75) tries to get in position to block a Muhlenburg defender during Saturday's game.

Two former Hornets end football careers

Thursday, November 21, 2019 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

Sal Pagano and Brett Poling were teammates on the Emmaus football team until their graduation in 2016. After high school, the two friends stayed together both in school and on the football field with both deciding to attend Moravian College.

They also added a new role as roommates and that’s lasted through all four years of their college careers.

Now, the two have completed their college football careers and are approaching the end of their college days as seniors at Moravian. Pagano is majoring in Health Science, pre-physical therapy, and Poling is majoring in business with his eyes on becoming a financial planner.

One area where their playing careers have taken different turns is in the amount of time they were on the field.

Pagano’s career has been laced with injuries, having suffered ACL tears in his freshman, sophomore and senior seasons. He admits that the injuries weren’t part of how he saw his college football career going, but he believes that it’s taught him some important lessons.

“Especially this year, going down in game eight was incredibly frustrating, but the experience of having gone through the first two give me the confidence to get through this one,” said Pagano. “It’s something that teaches me for the rest of my life. It’s teaching me resilience and perseverance.”

Meanwhile, Poling played in every Moravian game in each of his four seasons at the school and was an All-Centennial Conference Honorable Mention in both is sophomore and junior seasons. Looking back, he knows that he made the right decision in attending Moravian and has even helped to recruit other former Emmaus players to become Greyhounds.

is friendship with Pagano has always been a key part of his college experience.

“Sal and I decided to come to Moravian together and were roommates together for the past four years,” said Poling. “Then, Matt Nimas, who was a fellow lineman back at Emmaus, was looking at colleges, so I got in touch with him right away and told him ‘you’ve got to check out Moravian.’ He wound up coming here, too,”

The trio was joined by another Emmaus player in Noah Breidinger. Nimas and Breidinger have just completed their sophomore seasons with the team.

While Pagano hasn’t had much of an opportunity to showcase his football skills, having played just 22 college games because of the injuries, he’s continued his academic excellence that started at Emmaus. In high school, Pagano was a scholar athlete and he was recently named to the 2019 Academic All-District Football Team, which is chosen by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) for NCAA Division 3 schools.

While their football experiences were different, both players say that they will look back on their time as members of the team fondly. Both point to the friendships that they’ve developed with other players and spoke of how cohesive this group of seniors has been.

They not only look back on their times together on the field, but their friendship as having been important both on and off the field. That friendship doesn’t appear ready to end any time soon.

“It’s a very humbling experience,” said Poling. “We came here as roommates and turned into co-captains and it’s been a crazy journey.”

Pagano has much the same thoughts on the friendship that Poling does and looks forward to the future journeys that the two will take after college.

“He’s my best friend. It’s as simple as that,” said Pagano. “He’ll be in my corner forever and I’ll be in his corner.”