Being the starting quarterback, free safety and captain for the Colonia Patriots have been the most memorable years of my life.
Playing under my coach Ben LaSala has been a wild ride. Being the quarterback for his team means that you have to come to practice everyday on time and give nothing but a 100 percent effort with each rep you take. But the best part is that he wanted that from every single player that puts on the helmet with the two golden “C’s” on both sides. With a coach like that, it is very hard not to have a successful season.
When we lost Greg Jones, our 2,000-yard rusher last season, most people counted us out. They thought we’d only be a .500 team and maybe sneak into the playoffs. Coach LaSala always says, “We don’t rebuild at Colonia, we reload.” With that being said, we reeled off a 9-2 season, which is the second best season record in Colonia’s history.
All we had to do is to come together and believe. As a result, many members of the Colonia Patriots received All-White Division honors. Also, C.J. Cimmiluca and myself were named to the Home News Tribune First Team All-Area. I’m looking forward to watching my two younger brothers, Bryce and Chase, play next year.
We always went out there and gave it our all because it is not guaranteed that we get back up after every play. We all look up to Eric LeGrand, one of the all-time Colonia greats and a hometown hero. When he comes into our locker to pump us up or when we see him on the sideline cheering us on, we just turn it up a notch because we know he did the same on every single play when he had on a Colonia uniform. He gives motivation not only to Colonia, but to other schools as well. It really has been an honor walking and playing on the same field that he played on countless times.
It is really special that my teammates, Chris DiProfio and Jordan Valle, and I are playing in the Snapple Bowl to represent the Colonia Patriots. Many great players for Colonia have played in this game, even some of our coaches played in it when they were in high school a long, long, long, time ago. Many great players from Middlesex and Union are playing in this game and it’s going to be one exciting game to watch.
But this game isn’t for the players, coaches or fans; it is for the Lakeview School. I have already had the privilege to go to the school with my team during my junior year, and it was a life-changing experience. It made me appreciate all of the things I am able to do and not take them for granted.
It is an awesome feeling that we as players get to raise thousands of dollars for these children because they deserve it. They don’t have the opportunity to go outside and play in front of screaming fans.
As players, it almost seems like our duty to go out there and play for them. Those kids are the reason we have this great game that brings these great players from Middlesex and Union counties together. Those kids deserve every penny they get and I can’t wait to put on that Middlesex uniform to represent Colonia and the Lakeview School the best I can.