The student news site of Emmaus High School



The student news site of Emmaus High School



Guiffre finds home with Hornets

Franky Gagliardo
Guiffre runs the ball against Nazareth Blue Eagles on Sept. 1, 2023.

This story previously ran in our October 2023 print issue.

“I want to say I gave it my all, and I don’t want to feel like I could have given something that I didn’t,” Riley Guiffre said.

Many athletes feel the pressure of underperforming and living up to the unrealistic expectations of being great all the time. This constant game athletes play against themselves can drive many players to experience what is known as burnout. However, this pressure can also lead to victory and the ability for athletes to excel at their craft.

For senior running back Guiffre, his inner motivation and pressure to be great, push through hard challenges, and have no regrets has enhanced his athletic abilities and paved the way for success. He has faced many challenges and setbacks, having transferred to four different high schools for various reasons. This pressure of joining new teams and having to prove himself again and again, along with his inner motivation, has made him the stellar athlete he is today.

Guiffre recently transferred to Emmaus High School from Central Catholic for his senior year.  This is not his first time experiencing the transfer process and having to learn to thrive in a new school. He has attended Bethlehem Catholic High School, St. Thomas More School, Central Catholic High School, and now Emmaus High School. With each transfer, he hoped to move closer to his goal of continuing to play football at a Division I university.

Recently, with his transfer to EHS, he was forced to meet a new team and bond with new players and coaches. The process of settling into EHS, and most importantly the football team, has gone relatively smoothly, and he feels as though he has begun to fit in.

“The team here is extremely welcoming in their coaching and players. They really do make everybody feel like they’re really family,” Guiffre said.

Guiffre’s love for the game of football has also eased his transitions between schools. When Guiffre started playing football at a young age, he instantly loved the sport. Guiffre and his father used football as a way to bond, and this only grew his love and attachment to the sport.

Even though he was so young, Guiffre and his father began to recognize his talent and see what football could become for him.

“It was around the fifth grade that we sat down,” Guiffre said. “My father was like, ‘Is this something you want to pursue?’ and [I decided] ‘yes, it was.’ That was something we both agreed on, and it’s just been kind of something me and my dad have bonded through, which also helped our relationship throughout the years.”

Guiffre played football up until the eighth grade in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. In eighth grade, Guiffre and his father decided the best move for them would be to transfer to Bethlehem Catholic High School. He did this for greater athletic opportunities, and so he could continue to pursue that goal he and his father made.

“At the time, Bethlehem Catholic was really good at football,” Guiffre said. They were known for that. We thought that would be the best ideal spot to help pursue my dreams and goals.”

Guiffre completed his freshman year and half of his sophomore year at Bethlehem Catholic. Bethlehem Catholic was not the right fit for him, and he was not excelling as much as he would have liked.  He, along with the support of his family, decided the best move to further his football career and future would be to transfer to St. Thomas More, a boarding school located in Oakdale, Connecticut known for their football team and its competitiveness.

Another reason for Guiffre’s transfer mid-year was to participate in St. Thomas More’s spring games, which is rare for high schools to offer. St. Thomas More not only offers year-round football but is also a national program that helps recruit and plays highly-ranked schools like Saint Frances Academy and IMG Academy.

For the upcoming school year, Guiffre reclassed to repeat sophomore year at St. Thomas More. Sports reclassification means to repeat a year in high school in order to grow more as an athlete and have greater athletic recruiting opportunities. For Guiffre this meant instead of going into his junior year as Class of 2024, he became part of the Class of 2025 at St. Thomas More.

During this year, St. Thomas More provided Guiffre with copious opportunities to be introduced to many high-level college programs through its connections.

“Mainly from my connections through St. Thomas More and a couple of things I have done, I’ve visited schools like Syracuse, Penn State, Pitt, Maryland, Stony Brook, Lafayette, Delaware, Holy Cross, West Virginia, and Lehigh,” Guiffre said.

St. Thomas More’s school year ended early, so mid-spring Guiffre completed his sophomore year. From there, he decided to come back to Pennsylvania for his senior year. Had he stayed at St. Thomas More, he would have been going into junior year as opposed to senior year due to reclassification. In Pennsylvania, public schools you only have 4 years of sports eligibility, so he had to become part of the Class of 2024 again because he had already completed three years.

He then spent the end of last school year at Central Catholic. He flourished at Central Catholic for the short period he was there and instantly clicked with their program and coaches.

“Coach Rob Melosky definitely has a great, great program at Central,” Guiffre said. He’s really a player’s coach and really looks out for you, love that guy. He stole my heart and did as much as he could for me.”

Guiffre was no longer able to attend Central Catholic, and the decision was made that he had to go to a new high school for his senior year. The school search began, and he continued to push through this hard challenge like he had done with every challenge he faced throughout his life: with strength, positivity, and the support of his family.

“We didn’t let that little bit of adversity change us,” Guiffre said. “We were still positive going through it and we ended up finding a home at Emmaus. There was no regret in it. Don’t let adversity make or break you.”

EHS has become a home for Guiffre. He is prospering in his athletic, academic, and social environment. He quickly fit in with the football team and secured his starting spot on the varsity football team. Along with this he has bonded with many teammates such as Ben Mercado, a senior lineman on the team.

“He brings a lot of energy,” Mercado said. “He’s a very talented player and that has just made our team a lot better.”

He has also made an impact on many of the team’s coaches. Specifically, he has left a positive impression on football head coach Harold Fairclough.

“He has a really good work ethic, and a great personality that fits in well with our kids,” Fairclough said. “I think he was able to develop some relationships pretty quickly, so good for him.”

In regards to his recruitment process, he is still considering all of his options and working out what will be the best path for him. He has remained hopeful and calm about where he will continue his football career.

“My advice for someone going through the recruitment process is at the end of the day, they’re looking at so many guys, you don’t want to show them any flaws and show them why they should pick somebody else over you. Kind of being calm and collected throughout the recruitment process, enjoy it, and have fun with it. And kind of embrace it,” Guiffre said.

Throughout every challenge and hardship Guiffre has faced, his ability to continue to work towards the goal his father and him mad,e and his self-will and perseverance have allowed him to become the stellar athlete and person he is today. That is the motivation that pushes him to be a spectacular athlete and shine on the field.

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