Above: Jack Farrelly with Tom Centore of the R.I. Chapter of the National Football Foundation. Submitted photo
The Emo DiNitto / Rhode Island Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame held its 35th Annual Awards Dinner May 2 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Warwick. It was a star-studded night with TV personalities, outstanding coaches and players and an official, all getting their chance at center stage.
Foundation President TOM CENTORE opened the night with greetings and was followed by Channel 10’s FRANK CARPANO, the master of ceremonies. EMO DiNITTO gave the foundation’s history, while CARL RICCI talked to the crowd of what it meant to be a Golden Dozen recipient.
DiNitto then presented the Silver Scholar Awards to 16 deserving young men: JASAI BOYKIN – William Davies Tech; NIKOLAS DASILVA – Mt.Hope; JACK FARRELLY – East Greenwich; JONATHAN GARDE – Tiverton; ANDREW MADDEN – Barrington; DANTE PAREDES-MARTINEZ JR. – Cranston East; ANTHONY PERROTTA – Cranston West; JACOB SILVERSMITH – North Kingstown; MICHAEL TARTAGLIA – Smithfield; DONAVAN WRIGHT – Rogers; THOMAS MCGRAW – Portsmouth.
The Distinguished American Award went to JUDGE FRANK CAPRIO, of the TV show “Caught in Providence” and a man who has millions of followers nationwide for his unique way of handing out justice.
Legendary Massachusetts coach TOM CAITO was given the Contribution to Amateur Football Award for his effect on the sport of football as a player, coach and administrator. He regaled the large crowd with stories of football back in the day.
The Rhode Island Football Officials Award went to long time college and high school coach DON FILINOW, whose brief acceptance speech highlighted the roles of players, coaches, officials and parents (fans).
Former Providence Journal Schoolboy Sports writer JOHN GILLOOLY then took over and presented the Golden Dozen Award winners.
The Golden Dozen winners were: JOSEPH ACCIARDO – Johnston; COLIN FLYNN – Narragansett; DAVID LYNCH – Bishop Hendricken; THOMAS REILLY – Burrillville; NATHANIEL AMBRAD – South Kingstown; GREGORY GORMAN – Westerly; ELIJAH NYAHKOON – Classical; PARKER RUSH – La Salle Academy; ANDRE’ DEPINA-GRAY – St. Raphael Academy; PRINCE KWEH – Central; JACK PROCTOR – Cumberland; CONNOR WIDMER – Pilgrim.
The night finished with the announcement that one of the boys, St. Raphael’s Andre’ DEPINA-GRAY, will represent the R.I. Football Foundation on a national stage in a competition with other National Football Foundation Golden Dozen winners from across the country.
Scholarship winners winners:
The Frank Morey $1,000 Scholarship Award went to: ANTHONY PERROTTA of Cranston West.
The $1,000 Chet Pono Scholarship Award winner was: PRINCE KWEH of Central.
The $1,000 Alan Seaone Scolarship Award winner was: NATHANIEL AMBRAD of South Kingstown.
Though not every boy made their plans known, it was learned that the following boys will be playing college football next fall: ANDRE’ DEPINA-GRAY – URI; JOSEPH ACCIARDO – Santa Monica Junior College (Calif.); ELIJAH NYAHKOON – Sacred Heart University; PRINCE KWEH – Bentley; JACK FARRELLY – Endicott; JACOB SILVERSMITH – Wesleyan.
Congratulations to all Foundation honorees, especially to the players. It was a night that demonstrated the best in our country and of our country.