by Christopher Annino
Under the coaching style of Jason Southard, the USCGA is a threat at the New England Football Conference Championships. Below are several inspirational and meaningful football stories that several of the Coast Guard Academy Seniors have shared to sum up there time.
Quarterback and Cheshire resident Niles Pierson, who proved himself to be the comeback kid when it comes to winning games, says, “The thing I’ll remember the most about playing football at the Academy are my brothers on the team. Three games stand out in my memory the most. The first one is the Framingham State game my sophomore year. That is the game that I won the Gold Helmet Award. The second one is the Merchant Marine game my junior year because I had two touchdown passes and it was the first time we beat them in 5 or so years. The last one is the Worcester State game from this year because of that last minute touchdown pass to Cale.”
Marlboro, MA resident and Linebacker Brian Yurovich, who led the team in tackles last year with 77 said, “To play for a service academy is a great honor; to be able to represent your service, country, school, brothers on the team and family though your performance in the world’s greatest game is a humbling and exciting experience.”
Offensive Linebacker and New Britain resident Mike Fiori best summed up firsthand what it is like putting a CG jersey on, “There’s nothing better than looking your teammates in the eyes on the field. You learn a lot about trust. Sacrificing together; that’s what playing football for the CGA is all about. I’ll never forget, we were down 10-7 against Curry College, with a few minutes left in the 2007 New England Football Conference Championship game. A win would have put us in the Division III playoffs for the first time in a decade. The offense huddled up on the sideline waiting for the play call from the coaches. We all knew at that moment that the team’s chance at going to the playoffs rested on the offense driving down the field and winning. We didn’t move the ball a ton that game, but looking in everyone’s eyes in the huddle you could see that we had truly come together as a team, and that everybody believed that we could drive down the field and win. Breaking that huddle and running onto the field gave me an excitement that can’t be experienced anywhere else but in football. A half back pass almost won us the game, but we fell short. And as we attempted a field goal to win the game I couldn’t see pass the defensive lineman, but I heard their sideline cheer. So I realized that there wasn’t going to be overtime and instead we were going home. But there is no better feeling than looking your teammates in the eyes and knowing that you guys are going to have to drive down the field and win. And I always believe that we are going to do just that.”