Leominster Football Players Honored
LEOMINSTER -- The Leominster High School Football Program held its Varsity Awards Breakfast, sponsored by the Leominster Blue Devil Football Club, on Sunday, Feb. 10, at the Lodge of Elks.
The purpose of the gathering was to allow the players, coaches and family members to gather together one last time and to recognize the Blue Devils’ team and individual accomplishments. David Palazzi, who stepped down as head coach after a Thanksgiving victory over rival Fitchburg, was master of ceremonies and recounted the highlights of the Blue Devils’ season.
He began his remarks by saying how proud he was of the way the 2018 team never gave up and continued to work hard, day after day, during a season that did not always favor the Blue Devils. He was especially proud of how they finished their season with five consecutive wins, three shutouts, one opponent scoring three points and the other 14, including a 36-0 defeat of the archrival Fitchburg Red Raiders in the annual Thanksgiving classic.
Palazzi also recognized the numerous individuals, community members, local businesses and organizations whose support is an essential part of the foundation that makes up Blue Devil football.
Palazzi reminded his players that although individual and team awards are nice to display, what they will cherish the most are their team memories, team pictures, friendships made and working together to accomplish goals.
Also recognized for their continued support and dedication were the LHS administration and Principal Steve Dubzinski, staff and fans, DPW staff who maintain and make Doyle Field one of the best in the state under the direction of Pat LaPointe, the announcing duo of Dick Tucker and Patrick Frates, Superintendent Paula Deacon and especially the members of the Leominster Blue Devils Football Club for their endless hard work and support of the Leominster football program. Also recognized was the tireless work and support of Matt Houle, who always put the team first.
Palazzi continually stresses to team members at all levels the importance of academics as part of their participation in the football program. After calculating grade-point averages for all players, sports gift certificates were award to eight players in grades 9-12 with the highest GPAs.
The highest grade-point averages by class included seniors Connor Marchand, Zach DelGiudice and Gabe Elias; juniors Liam Curtin and Damian O’Brien, sophomores Jack Philbin and Kyle Philbin; and freshman James Julian III.
The event concluded with the presentation of special awards to team members. The list of awards is as follows:
Coach John Dubzinski Award (to the student-athlete who excels in athletics, leadership and citizenship): Zachary Kallady; Coaches Award (to the player who best exhibits the value of hard work and puts forth and honest effort each and every day): Emmanuel Pena; Coach John Culley Award (exhibiting loyalty, unselfishness and dedication): Eelijah Martinez; Coach Charlie Broderick Award (commitment and dedication to the entire LHS football program): Anthony Larson; Michael Curley Award (allegiance to Leominster football, Pop Warner through high school): Zachary DelGiudice; Joe LeBlanc Award (unmatched dedication both on and off the field to LHS football): JC Cora Jr.; Coach Leon “Huck” Hannigan Award (commitment and dedication to LHS football ): Frank Opoku; Albert Mazzaferro Award (demonstrates strong leadership qualities): Brian Rodriguez; Players Award (dedication and desire to compete at a high athletic level): Kyle Philbin; Luis A “Sugarbear” Austin Award (exhibits spirit and enthusiasm toward the Leominster football program): Gabriel Elias; Coach Roger Mercier “Team 1st” Award (to a player who continually puts the football program first and encourages the team to do the same): Jack Philbin; Shawn Carr Award (given by the Carr family to the player who exhibits utmost coach ability, dedication and loyalty to LHS football): Connor Marchand; Lane Trophy (Thanksgiving Game MVP): co-recipients Adam Couch and JC Cora Jr.
The Leominster Athletic Department Blue Devil Football individual team awards include: Team MVP: Brian Rodriguez and Zach Khallady; MVP Offense: Adam Couch; MVP Defense: Zach DelGiudice and Connor Marchand; MIP Offense: Frank Opoku; MIP Defense: Felipe Garcia; MVP Offensive Line: Joe Conlan; MVP Defensive Line: Zachary Khallady; Special Teams MVP: Anthony Larson; Blue Collar Offense: Kyle Philbin; and Blue Collar Defense: Fernando Aguilar.