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Officiating could be in Grandville quarterback’s future

By: Steve Vedder, October 26, 2016, 8:11 pm

Grandville – Brady Paganelli said there was never any doubt he’d consider taking a shot at carrying on a family legacy.

Even if meant fall weekends away from the family, working under a microscope before thousands of rabid, partisan fans and success being measured as the better you are at your job, the less you’re noticed.

All things being equal, Paganelli, Grandville’s senior quarterback, believes that’s the path he’d like to follow.

Paganelli, whose father and two uncles have combined for 44 seasons as NFL officials, said while you never know what the future holds, he wouldn’t mind becoming the fourth Paganelli to officiate at a high level. Paganelli said he’s never been nudged toward officiating by his father, Dino, his uncles, Perry Paganelli and Carl Paganelli, Jr., or grandfather, Carl, a former supervisor of officials for the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference who worked Arena Football League games. 

The youngest Paganelli said he reached his own conclusion that following family history would be neat. In fact, he took the first step this fall by refereeing four weeks of Rocket football games.

"I always wanted to get into it," he said of officiating. "It runs in the family, something that’s been passed down. It’s something I would like to pursue, but if it didn’t work out because I found something else, that’s fine."

Paganelli knows what to expect if he opts for the officiating route. He’s traveled with his father to NFL stadiums in New England, Arizona, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay and Indianapolis, including Super Bowl XLVII between Baltimore and San Francisco in New Orleans. Paganelli has seen how NFL officials prepare, he’s waded through countless training videos with his father and has interacted with NFL officials at a level few are afforded.

None of it has deterred the likelihood of Paganelli giving professional officiating a whirl.

"It’s a harder job than you think," he said. "My family loves he idea, but they haven’t pushed me toward it. It can be hard, being away from your family. But I’ve learned from them."

Dino Paganelli said his son will ultimately make his own decision, but thinks he would make an excellent official.

"He’s been a student of the game. He’s watched training videos with me and asked a lot of questions," Paganelli said. "I think his exposure has helped him in learning how to talk to (high school) officials at his own games. I’ve encouraged him if it’s something he wants to do the opportunity is there if he likes it."

Paganelli doesn’t know what the future holds. While he’s definitely leans toward officiating, there are other options. Paganelli plans on majoring in either exercise science, with hopes of becoming a physical therapist, or he might pursue a degree in psychology.

The question is which college and for what. A two-year starter at quarterback for the Bulldogs, Paganelli has completed 82 percent of his passes for 657 yards and 12 touchdowns as part of Grandville’s T-formation offense this season. At 5-11, 165 pounds, he probably isn’t a quarterback at the next level, but his athleticism could afford him a shot at cornerback, where he started as a junior, or perhaps a slot back. He’s also an excellent shortstop in baseball. Paganelli could choose to play both sports at the Division III level or focus on either sport at a higher level.

"I do could either," he said. "I’m not just a football player who plays baseball. I might enjoy baseball a little more, but then you can’t beat Friday nights and the fans, and community coming out."

Paganelli is part of an outstanding senior class which has been greatly responsible for Grandville grabbing the No. 1 seed in Region 1 District 1 in Division 1. Grandville (8-1) will host its first playoff game since 2002 when the Bulldogs play Grand Ledge (7-2) in a pre-district on Friday. The seniors helped Grandville to back-to-back O-K Red Division co-titles after going 7-2 overall and 5-0 in the conference two seasons ago on junior varsity and 6-3 as freshmen.

"We have this bond," Paganelli said of the seniors. "I don’t know that we have all that much talent, but we have this bond which allows us to play together well."

For now, Paganelli will continue to collect officiating information, and advice from his family. He said his grandfather texts him daily with encouragement while his father has chipped in with what Paganelli believes is the most sage advice he’s received.

"He’s always said don’t be afraid of a play and don’t let a bad call effect you," he said. ‘I think I want to be an official one day, but my family has said I wouldn’t be letting them down if I didn’t. We’ll see what happens."