Regardless of how things turned out, the Watertown High School football coaching staff deserves a standing ovation for the job they’ve done this season.

We all had a pretty good idea after last season that this was going to be coach Luigi Velardi’s last round-up; he has given up some prime parental real estate to run the program, and the hard work paid off in a state playoff berth in 2017.

The bill came due for that run to the CIAC tournament in 2018 and the price paid was a steep one, as the young Indians were overmatched against a killer schedule, prompting the usual whining that accompanies a rough stretch.

However, the seeds of success were being sown as the season rolled on.

Xavier Powell grew as a quarterback and team leader, players such as Leo Kolonsky, Jonathan Palomba, Owen Jalbert, Jaeden Goodwine, Owen Munson, Matt Hardisty, Anthony Velardi, Jake Sheehan and John Terlizzi applied the lessons they learned while sophomores on that playoff team, wanting another taste.

The Class of 2020 are passing those lessons on to the juniors and sophomores who’ll take the torch next fall under the new coach, who’ll be the sixth in program history.

What a job this staff has done, as Jerry Valentino, Shawn Stanco, Rob Graziano, Bruce Cianciolo, Jeremy Plourde, Keith Borkowski and Chris Masayda have coached the living daylights out of this team on a play-by-play basis.

It’s been fun to watch, and if you weren’t present to watch the great comeback win at Naugatuck last week, you missed something really special.

This multi-faceted group of Indians, as after their loss to Wolcott, failed to push the panic button, and with their season on the line, coolly came through a four-game road gauntlet in which they HAD to win every game...take a bow, guys.

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