Signing Day: Salisbury’s Cardelle going to N.C. Central
By Ronnie Gallagher
The biggest compliment Frankie Cardelle ever received came long before he kicked a football.
He was in P.E. class when football coach Joe Pinyan approached him.
“He said, ‘You need to come out and kick,’ ” Cardelle remembered.
Cardelle, who was known mostly as a soccer player, was so impressed that the coach had noticed him, he took Pinyan up on his offer.
“It stuck with me,” he said. “I was like, ‘Yeah, Coach wants me to kick.’ ”
Listening to Pinyan has paid off in a big way. Cardelle used National Signing Day on Tuesday to ink with North Carolina Central.
“When they tee it up against Duke (in the 2009 opener), he’ll be out there,” Pinyan said.
Cardelle talked with UNC Pembroke and Catawba and was also invited to walk on by a few Division I schools like East Carolina. But Pinyan said Cardelle made the right choice.
“In Division I, unless they have somebody they’re head over heels about, they’re not going to burn a scholarship on a kicker. They make them come in as a walk-on, earn the job and then give them a scholarship.
“Frankie can go to N.C. Central and be THE kicker.”
Cardelle made Pinyan a happy man for three years, sending most of his kickoffs into the end zone.
“We were not very good at kickoff coverage,” Pinyan admitted. “By him kicking it into the end zone, it helped them rest a little.”
Kicking was no problem for Cardelle. The other parts of football, like tackling, presented problems.
Against West Davidson in his sophomore year, Pinyan told him to kick away from Green Dragon star Josh Bush.
“I said, ‘Don’t kick to No. 5., you’ll have to tackle him. He kicked it right to him.”
And when Cardelle went to make the tackle, he broke his arm.
As a senior, the same situation arose against Providence Grove.
“I slid into him, soccer style,” Cardelle grinned.
Cardelle won numerous awards as a soccer player for Tom Sexton at Salisbury. But NCCU doesn’t offer the sport.
“I’m going to miss it,” Cardelle said. “But I’m going to have a lot of football to concentrate on. Football is my new sport ó my adopted sport.”
The Eagles were a mainstay in the CIAA until moving to Division I. They just finished their second season as a FCS member, going 4-7 under head coach Mose Rison.
“It’s a football program that’s definitely going in the right direction,” Cardelle said.
He likes the family atmosphere at the Durham campus and can’t wait to play in O’Kelley Riddick Stadium. On the road, he’ll get to kick at Duke and during Appalachian State’s Homecoming.
“I got along great with everybody,” Cardelle said. ” It’s in a great area, too.”
Pinyan knows Cardelle will win over his teammates.
“Frankie really pushed himself to be the best he could be,” Pinyan said. “He was the punter with A.J. Ford and O’Bryan Graham, two of our better athletes. Kids saw them working hard and saw Frankie working hard, and that earned their respect.”
A large gathering of family and friends showed up Wednesday to watch Cardelle sign, including Pinyan’s assistants.
“We plan on winning a bunch of football games,” Pinyan said. “But nothing measures up to when a kid leaves here and takes his ability and parlays it into an education. That’s what Frankie has done.”
Pinyan has complete confidence that Cardelle will work hard to continue booming long fields goals and sending those kickoffs into the end zone.
And if a kickoff doesn’t make the end zone?
Expect Cardelle to show his teammates how to make the tackle ó soccer style, of course.