Above: Joseph Ruff punts during an EG football game last year. Photo by Mary MacIntosh
Press Release 10/18/2023: Providence Gridiron Club President Robert P. Izzi has announced the 2023 winners of the Dick Fossa Memorial Scholarship.
The winners are: Patrick Bryan – Rogers High; Joseph Ruff – East Greenwich; Huntley Almeida – Portsmouth; Elijah Diallo – Burrillville; Marcus Chung – Cranston West; Jacob Poore – East Providence; Zach DeCorpo – Toll Gate; Collin Fitts – Chariho.
PATRICK BRYAN, Rogers – Had a GPA of 4.3 with 700 plus on both his SATs. The 6-2 220 lb athlete played tackle on offense and defense and was a two year starter. Made All Division and All Academic teams. His coach, John Horsman said, “Patrick was a pleasure to coach and is a person his teammates look up to.”
Patrick was class secretary for three years, was on the National Honor Society; was Light of Leadership winner and got the R.I. Civil Service Award. He was a member of the Rogers HS orchestra.
Besides playing football Patrick worked jobs as varied as baking assistant at a Sweet Shoppe to head lifeguard at Spouting Rock Beach.
He did community service selling Christmas trees and wreaths for the Rogers High Booster Club and also volunteered his services for the Newport Recreation Event “Help” and for the Rogers High School Sports Banquet.
Patrick said: “Over four years of football I never missed a single practice. Rain, snow, dust, heat, I was there. There were NO excuses. No amount of bruises, sprains or sickness could keep me away from playing the game I loved!”
JOSEPH RUFF, East Greenwich – GPA 4.1 with 1,400 SATs. The 5-11 200 pounder played running back and linebacker, but really shown as a kicker/punter. He started 2 years and was 2 years All Academic, Track & Field Academic All State, and R.I. Football Chapter Silver Scholar Athlete, National Honor Society, and Vice President of NHS.
Head Coach John George said, “Joe is an excellent punter and I am confident he will have a good career at Assumption.”
Joe was captain of the Chess Club; captain of the Math Team (3rd in States) and served as captain of both the football and track squads. He served as a lifeguard in Narragansett; worked at Dearhearts Ice Cream and is TIPS certified to serve at a brewery. He volunteered for a Thanksgiving food drive.
“When I broke my collarbone, my season was stripped from me (he came back and punted and kicked off), BUT I was still a captain and had a responsibility to the team. I used that time to help out my teammates in every way I could. “
HUNTLEY ALMEIDA, Portsmouth – A 5-8 180 lb G and MLB. Had a 3.57 GPA and 1,200 boards. Huntley started 2 years for the Patriots. Won PGC Defensive MVP; D1 3rd team LB; Channel 10 Friday Night Rivals Scholar Athlete; First Team All Division LB; Pop Warner Steward Booth Award; PHS Ninja Football Award; All League All Academic.
Head Coach Dustin Almeida said: “Playing for your father is not easy. Huntley did a masterful job of managing it and answering my, his coaches and his teammates’ expectations.”
Almeida was on the PHS Student Council and the PHS National Honor Society. He worked at Olympic Physical Therapy and as a lifeguard at Gooseberry Beach as well as plugging away at the Snack Shack, Provencal Bakery and for Alves Landscaping.
He volunteered time coaching flag football and Pop Warner and did service at St. John’s Food bank and also tutored 3rd graders.
Huntley said: “My senior year didn’t just teach me how to play football. It taught me why I play. It taught me to bleed, sweat and cry for a group of people.”
ELIJAH DIALLO, Burrillville – 5-11 180lb WR/S – 3.4 GPA with 1,200 boards. Elijah was All State second team in 2022; First team All Division; Academic All League and a National Football Foundation Golden Dozen selection.
Coach Gennaro Ferraro says, “Elijah is mature beyond his years. He is an old soul who takes nothing for granted, and is willing to earn his way through life. The oldest of three with a single mother, he takes on leadership roles at home, in school and on the athletic field/court.”
Elijah is an AP student and 4-year honor student. He has been selected as a captain in both football and basketball. He serves as a camp counselor at Camp Phoenix, and has also coached youth teams in basketball.
Besides the Golden Dozen designation he won an excellence in Computer Science Award, was chosen for the Dave Hebert Award, and had All Division and All League awards along with the All State choice.
Elijah said: “Living in a single-parent household, football has given me structure in my life that I couldn’t have found elsewhere. The game has shaped me into who I am today.”
MARCUS CHUNG, Cranston West – 5-7 170 lb RB, DB, KR; A 4.0 student with 1,100 SATs. Marcus was all everything at West. He was a ProJo first team All State; Cranston Herald Boys Athlete of the Year; Golden Dozen Scholar Athlete; 2x 1st Team All Division; 3x RIHSFCA All Academic; 2x PGC team Offensive MVP; 2x Thanksgiving Day game MVP.
Head Falcon Coach Tom Milewski said: “Marcus was our go to guy. Whenever we needed a play we could count on Marcus to get it.”
Chung was a class officer and on CWHS Leadership Group. He was also chosen captain of the basketball team.
As to work, Marcus was a busser at Spain Restaurant, a crew member at Tropical Smoothie and refereed NLPA Flag football games.
For community service he was a soup kitchen volunteer at St. Charles Borromeo; delivered meals to senior citizens at Thanksgiving and Christmas and was a St. Matthews Concert Volunteer.
Marcus said: “Keeping a balance in life and trying new things is important and I’ve learned that going into new things with a mindset like this will help me succeed in life beyond football. There will be many times when new challenges arise and the knowledge I’ve gained through different experiences will prepare me for these challenges.”
JACOB POORE, East Providence – 6′ 165 TE/DE; GPA 94.36 1,320 Boards. 2021 & 2022 Providence Gridiron Club Defensive MVP; ’21 and ’22 1st team All League; ’21 & ’22 All Academic; 2022 National Football Foundation – RI Chapter Golden Dozen selectee.
Coach John Stringfellow said: “Jacob is motivated, compassionate and exemplifies what is known as “Townie Pride” in all that he does on and off the field. East Providence has truly benefited from having him as a quality student athlete member of the senior class.”
Jacob, who also wrestled for the Townies was Treasurer for the National Honor Society and a Representative for the EP Prevention Coalition.
He worked as a court monitor at Sky Zone Trampoline Park and as a Youth Football Coach for the East Providence Boys & Girls Club.
For Community Service he was at Rejoice in Hope Center Church; the Prevention Coalition; Boys and Girls Club; Operation Stand Down-Boots on the Ground and also at a local nursing home.
Jacob said: “To me, football is a game that builds character through hard work, and builds life-long friendships through adversity, commitment and teamwork. In college these lessons will carry over to making me the person I am today and will become.”
ZACH DECORPO, Toll Gate – 6′ 150lb Athlete (all over) – 3.4 GPA. Zach was a 2-year captain for Titans, All Division at 2-positions and a Gridiron Club MVP. He also earned All Academic and All Division plus was his team’s MVP.
Coach Jim Miceli said: “This is a terrific young man. He is a leader, motivator and honor student. Such a great example for the younger players and is very deserving of any award that comes his way.”
Zach played WR,QB, RB, punted, kicked off, did all returns and played CB and S. He served as Class Officer and was a Silver Scholar Athlete Award winner from the National Football Foundation-RI Chapter.
He played football and baseball and was a starter all four years.
Zach worked a mason on masonry job sites and did community service by coaching youth football, youth baseball and running clubs. He also participated in car washes for athletic fundraising.
Zach said: “Football gives me confidence in myself and has created some of my closest friendships that I value deeply… I have worked hard to get where I am and I am proud that I never gave up. My goal is to play football in college. It has always been my dream.”
COLLIN FITTS, Chariho – 6-1 195 lb WR/RB-LB; 3.8 GPA. Collin was Providence Gridiron Club D3 Back of the Year and made All Division 2x, once as a running back and once as a linebacker.
Head Coach Bill Samagio says: “Collin is the type of kid you would like to build a program around. He shows how it is done. As one of the top players in the state there is no other I would be prouder of for his on and off the field leadership.”
Collin is a member of Varsity Athletes Against Substance Abuse. He works as an electrical apprentice. For community service, Fitts worked the fundraiser car washes. He coached elementary school football and helped with the CTC Open House.
Collin says: “Football has been everything to me and has shaped my life.”
The Providence Gridiron Club will present these young men with their award at an upcoming PGC event. The PGC has been viable for over 70 years promoting football on all levels in the State of Rhode Island. To see how you can contribute, or, get involved contact Club President Robert Izzi at [email protected] or 401-378-4393.
This information is brought to you courtesy of Brooker Sports Initiative. If you have info on a local player doing well in the college ranks in football please send to [email protected].