BRISTOL - While the day belonged to the Bristol Central football team and quarterback Dathan Hickey, in a 33-27 win for the Rams, there was a silver lining for Bristol Eastern.
It was the youth for the Lancers, and with it, the future is bright.
Throughout the year, junior quarterback Justin Marshall and junior wide receiver Jaden Laprise had been the offensive juggernauts of the Bristol Eastern offense.
With Laprise being locked down for much of the game, drawing all of the Bristol Central defensive attention, sophomore wide receiver Elijah Gagliardo had his second big game in a row, coming off his performance against Manchester in which he caught six passes for 87 yards and a touchdown.
He delivered with a team-leading eight catches for 90 yards and had an interception on defense that led to a one-yard touchdown run from Steven Hopkins.
Gagliardo was named the Defensive Player of the Game for the Lancers.
“It felt good to be out there,” Gagliardo said. “I was just doing my thing and I was getting the ball and tried to put our team in a good position to get the Bell.”
While he starred, both Marshall and Laprise finished their seasons strong as well.
Marshall had 159 yards passing with a touchdown pass to senior tailback Ariza Kolloverja at the end of the game. Laprise had a 9-yard touchdown run and finished with five catches for 50 yards.
All three players have had their moments on the defensive side of the ball as well in the secondary.
Also with strong defensive seasons were junior leading tackler Trinidad Gonzalez, sophomore defensive back Matt D’Amato, sophomore linebacker David Tyminski and sophomore defensive lineman Edgar Santiago.
Although the loss is a tough one for the 17 seniors that didn’t have much success in the win column during their years playing for Bristol Eastern, they leave the program in good hands.
“The wins didn’t necessarily come in the fashion that we wanted them to,” senior left tackle Andrew Consalvo said. “However, the future is looking bright for this program. All of these kids are committed and the ones who were out there with the seniors today gave it their all and I’m happy I got to play alongside them for one last time.”