Nick Gilbo always dreamed of playing Division I college football against the best players in the country. That dream came true in a big way Aug. 31 when the former Moriah High School gridder and his University of Buffalo teammates faced Ohio State.
continued Gilbo will get another chance to play top-flight competition Sept. 7 when Buffalo travel to Waco, Texas, to face No. 23 Baylor.
It’s believed Gilbo is the only area gridder to play Division I football.
Gilbo was an all-state linebacker and fullback at Moriah High School. He led the Vikings to the state Class D championship game as a sophomore and a junior. The club reached the state semifinals his senior season.
“There’s nothing like Moriah football,” Gilbo said. “That whole experience — Friday night under the lights at Linney Field; everyone in town coming out — is really special. There’s nothing like Moriah football.”
Playing for Coach Don Tesar at Moriah helped make Gilbo a Division I player, he said.
“Moriah definitely helped prepare me for this level of competition,” Gilbo said. “I really learned a lot playing in Moriah.”
Gilbo graduated from Moriah 2011. With no Division I scholarship offers he went to Hudson Valley Community College, where he played the 2011 season.
“It was a good experience,” Gilbo recalled. “I had to work hard for every rep. The competition was very good.”
When he got an offer to attend the University of Buffalo as a walk on (non-scholarship player), he jumped at the chance. He redshirted last season and played on the Bulls’ scout team — the reserves who mimic the opposition in practice.
“That was different, knowing I couldn’t play in any games,” Gilbo said. “But I worked hard to give the starting offense a good look at what was coming on Saturday. The scout team is important; those players are as important as anyone on the team.”
This past off season Gilbo trained relentlessly preparing for summer camp. When the Bulls began practice in August Gilbo got noticed.
“I worked my tail off the entire off season and all of summer camp,” he said. “I gave it everything I had, every drill, every play.”