Alumni association showers praise on NVL gridiron champs

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Naugatuck Mayor Bob Mezzo (third from left) presents to the Naugatuck football team a commemorative brick for the pathway to Veterans Field to celebrate the 2010 Naugatuck Valley League championship with (from left) head coach Rob Plasky, Naugatuck Football Alumni Association co-founder Frank Johnson and assistant coach Chico Echevarria looking on. PHOTO BY KEN MORSE
NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck Football Alumni Association honored the 2010 Greyhounds football team last Friday in the weight room outside of coach Rob Plasky’s office by presenting jackets to the team to commemorate its Naugatuck Valley League championship season.

Mayor Bob Mezzo was on hand to present a ceremonial brick that will be laid in the walkway to Veterans Field with the inscription of the final score from Naugy’s 38-20 win over Ansonia on Thanksgiving that earned the Hounds their first NVL title since 2001.

“I want to congratulate you guys for winning the NVL championship,” Mezzo said. “This brick is going in the pathway to commemorate your achievement on a great season. When you look back on this you will realize you were part of something very special.”

The mayor also presented to Plasky the game ball to be stored in the school’s trophy case as a memento of the championship season.

Plasky addressed the players and guests who were on hand to thank them for their efforts. The coach also spoke about the last time that Naugatuck won on Thanksgiving in Ansonia, which brought cheers from the crowd on hand.

“The victory on Thanksgiving Day meant something to everyone who ever put on this uniform,” Plasky said. “The last time we won down in Ansonia, Mayor Mezzo and myself were sophomores and to come back here and coach the team you once played for is a great honor for me.”

Frank Johnson, the co-founder of the Naugatuck Football Alumni Association, began the ceremony by first announcing the Craig Peters Excellence Award going to senior quarterback Erich Broadrich.

“This award is not a reflection of statistics or how many touchdowns you scored,” Johnson said. “It’s an award to reflect what Coach Peters was all about—putting your nose to the grindstone, dedicating yourself to the team, having character, and never giving up.
“In four years Erich has demonstrated these attributes,” Johnson continued. “On the morning of the Thanksgiving Day victory I walked by Erich and I can’t remember exactly what I asked him, but he turned to me and pointed to his heart and said, ‘We are going to win this game because I got it right here.’ He then went out and played the game of his career. That’s why he is an ideal candidate for this award.”

Broadrick was grateful for receiving the award.

“It was definitely worth every bump, bruise, sweat, and tear,” said Broadrich, holding up the trophy. “Every year we got better and achieved a little more than the year before. To go out in my senior year and win on Thanksgiving Day and win the NVL Championship is just too good to be true.”

Broadrick credited his teammates for his personal success and that of the team.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without all my brothers in that room,” Broadrick said. “We came together as one and we wanted it. It just goes to show you when you come together and really work for the same goal together you can make anything happen.”

Plasky ended the ceremony by mentioning his players who will be moving on to play at the collegiate level. Broadrich will play baseball and football at Post University. Aaron Echevarria, the Republican-American’s Red Zone Defensive Player of the Year, will be attending Milford Academy along with Reuban Berger. Nate Hollie will be playing at Western Connecticut State University, Stuart Thompson will play at Post, and Iman Farimani has been accepted at two schools but hasn’t made his final decision.

“We are here to support you and help you reach that next level,” Plasky said. “When you come into this program you are labeled as a brute or a bully because you play football. But they don’t know the hard work and the dedication you put into this and that you are some of the best students in this school.”

Plasky also praised the departing seniors for their contributions to the program and Naugatuck.

“You have certainly made a difference in the community,” Plasky said. “To the seniors who are leaving, I just want you to know that the Naugatuck Alumni Association is always there for you. You are part of a family.”

The Naugatuck Football Alumni Association, co-founded by Johnson and Joe Connolly, began as a discussion during the induction ceremony of Craig Peters into the Naugatuck Hall of Fame in 2002.

Since that time, with the support of many local and town sponsors, the association has been able to grow into an extended family of the Naugatuck football program.

“You only have a four-year window to play football,” Johnson said. “Unlike baseball or basketball there are other leagues to become involved with after high school. But unless you are moving on to play in college, football really has only a four-year window. And it is the purpose of this organization to enhance that experience the best we can.”

The Naugatuck Football Alumni Association will hold its 10th annual golf tournament this summer to support the football program.

“The golf tournament is a great event,” Johnson said. “The loyalty of former players and all of our sponsors is just tremendous. There are guys who have played in that tournament every year since we started. That goes to show you that we are one big family.”

For details about the event and how to support the association, contact Frank Johnson at (203) 592-4265 or Joe Connolly at (203) 437-1765 or visit naugyfootball.com.