WESTERLY — Perhaps the biggest challenge for Westerly High’s Josh Lacerte on Thursday was trying to come up with a way to get all his hardware home.
Lacerte, a starting defensive end and running back for the Bulldogs, received the Washington Trust Leadership Award for his team, the Carl Myllymaki Memorial Award for Westerly lineman of the year and the Stonington Police Association’s defensive player of the game award for Westerly.
“It means everything that I was just allowed to get all this stuff,” Lacerte said, pointing to the trophies behind him. “My D-line coach, Mike Intrieri, and my teammates, Antonio Laboy, Isaiah Plourde, Trent Lamb, Judea Balmonte and Greg Gorman, all helped me become a better player.”
Westerly coach Duane Maranda said Lacerte has been a harder worker in the offseason and one of team’s leaders on the field this season.
He was part of a defense that limited Stonington to just 50 yards in Thursday’s win. Stonington had 20 plays that gained 2 yards or less.
“I felt like we came out really strong,” said Lacerte, who had a number of tackles behind the line of scrimmage. “We were going to make sure they weren’t going to be physically better than us, and we just wanted to prove that.”
Senior defensive tackle Antonio Laboy said the Bulldogs were ready.
“We studied hard in film and went over their plays. We were prepared correctly,” Laboy said. “We just wanted to fire off the ball and follow the ball wherever it goes.
“We had confidence and energy.”
Stonington lineman Ben Cook received the Washington Trust Leadership Award for Stonington.
Bears running back Nate Miller received the Stonington Police Association offensive player of the game honor, while Riley Burnside received the defensive award.
Tristano Turano was named Westerly’s top offensive player.
Cold and windy
When the game started, the temperature was 19 and a 10 mph wind made it feel like 9.
Both teams wore sneakers to deal with the frozen field.
“We came out in cleats for warm-ups, but we were sliding all over the place,” Westerly coach Duane Maranda said.
A couple thousand fans were in attendance when the game started, but a substantial number left at halftime.
Stonington finished 1-9 this season, but better days might be ahead.
“We are in a very good place,” Stonington coach A.J. Massengale said. “We have great kids that work hard. Our seniors were great examples for our younger players. This game is not a reflection of these kids or our program moving forward.”
Stonington started four sophomores, a freshman and four juniors on Thursday. Also, Stonington’s 14U youth team won the Super Bowl this season with an 11-1 record. Several linemen on that team could have pushed for playing time on this year’s varsity team.
Westerly, too, returns a good nucleus — six juniors, two sophomores and a freshman started on Thursday.