Senior Captain Regalado Big Reason Dobbs Ferry Has High Hopes
By Tom Pedulla—
Jose Regalado’s father, Francisco, would not allow him to play football until he reached the sixth grade because he feared for his safety. With all due respect to Francisco, his concern was misplaced. Succeeding years have shown that, whether his beefy son is playing on the offensive or defensive line, his opponents are the ones most at risk.
Regalado has grown into a 5-11, 270-pound senior captain at Dobbs Ferry High School, one of the literally biggest reasons the Eagles think they can contend for the sectional championship.
“I haven’t won a sectional title since my freshman year and that has been absolutely devastating,” he said. “It keeps me up and I don’t want it to happen this year, especially this being my last year.”
He may be hard to deny. When he is protecting the quarterback, his strength keeps pass-rushers from overpowering him and yet he is still quick enough to prevent them from scooting around him. When he is run blocking, well, would you want to find yourself on a collision course with someone of his girth who has every intention of leveling you?
When he is on defense, would you want to try to move him to create space for a running back? During a recent practice, he tossed a ballcarrier to the ground as if he was a sack of seeds.
“I think he’s unstoppable,” said A.J. Delvito, also a senior captain at Dobbs Ferry. “I wouldn’t want to line up against him and I doubt opposing teams do.”
Coach Joe Cox could not speak more highly of Regalado. “He represents the way we want to play football on both sides of the ball with his physicality, his motor, his growth from year to year, his attitude,” Cox said. “Everything he represents as a football player is a microcosm of how we want to play football and the style we want to play.”
Regalado has been big for as long as he can remember, a fan of fast food as well as home cooking strongly influenced by his family’s Dominican roots. Spaghetti, made with Caribbean seasoning and meat, ranks as his favorite. But he is happy to devour anything prepared by his father or his mother, Maria Regalado Garcia.
Regalado tipped the scales at 255 pounds as a high school freshman. He admitted his weight increased at an alarming rate after that. The absence of sports during the pandemic and the move to remote learning worked against him from a physical standpoint. He ballooned to as many as 310 pounds.
“COVID hit and I spent so much time inside,” he said. “I tried to get outside to run, but apparently it wasn’t enough.”
The return to a structured environment and to football, with five games played last spring, made a huge difference in his conditioning and allowed him to shed pounds so that he is at a more suitable weight.
“He is in shape. He’s got his lungs, so to speak. He’s got his legs underneath him,” Cox said. “He’s got much more of a motor than he did in the spring.”
Regalado embraces his leadership role. He understands that starts with leading by example. “He always helps team morale,” Delvito said. “If we’re having a bad practice, he brings up the energy and makes us work harder.”
Teammates look to Regalado to make big blocks or momentum-swinging tackles in critical situations. “He definitely doesn’t crack when adversity comes. He’s the right guy to have around when things get hard,” Cox said. “He’s the kind of kid who is picking people up and helping everybody move forward when adversity comes.”
Other than his mass, the second most noticeable aspect of Regalado is a smile that seemingly never leaves him. He treasures every moment, whether he is on the field or earning high honors in the classroom. He credits his parents for an upbeat demeanor that never wavers.
“Growing up in that house, a lot of religion, so you always learn to love everything,” he said. “God tells you love your neighbors, love it all. Everything I do, I might as well do it with a smile.”
Regalado is in the process of considering his college options with an eye toward majoring in mechanical engineering. He also is looking forward to his final baseball season at Dobbs Ferry. He plays catcher and wields a strong bat.
“People get on base, I smack ’em all home,” he said, his smile growing even wider.
The Eagles are 4-0 heading into tomorrow’s matchup against Tuckahoe.