North Hunterdon football has some very intelligent young men on their team, but none may be as well spoken as senior Cornerback Wyatt Lardieri. Wyatt started his football career his Freshman year at North, and before North’s signature “Black Out” game, I got the pleasure to interview Wyatt on his love for football and his excitement before the first home game with fans back in attendance. This interview took place October first, hours before the first home game of the season.
What does “Lion Pride” mean to you?
“Lion pride to me is a mentality, and it’s all about family. It’s a lot to deal with, coming in to work every day, and putting in your best effort to help make the team get better.”
Would Freshman you be surprised with how far you’ve come with football alone?
“I think definitely. Freshman me that was my first year playing. I think I’ve learned so much, not only about football but about life. Football is a really funny game because you play and work so hard at it, and it can be really amazing or super disappointing and I think it’s a great life lesson, not only on the field but also off the field.”
What’s it like to have fans back in attendance after playing with none during COVID-19 last year?
“Definitely helps. Even at away games, it really helps. The Jungle is insane, I think everyone is really anxious to get back into it. It definitely helps and it really motivates the players, and that’s really what we play for.”
With the loss of starting quarterback Luke Martini, how have Ryan Drwal and Alex Zesotarski stepped in to the role of quarterback in the last two weeks?
“You can’t say enough about those guys. Those guys stepped up, no questions asked, and they stepped up and did what they had to do and they nearly knocked off a Top-25 team in state. They really helped our team out a ton when we needed it.”
How do you expect North Hunterdon to do the rest of the season and do you think the playoffs are in sight?
“We definitely have a great group of guys, everyone is really motivated. After two straight losses we want to comeback after those games, and we know we have the group of guys to do so.”
Since this interview the lions have gone 4-1 in their last five games and are on a three-game win streak. Wyatt’s defense has helped the team in said win streak, as the Lions defense has allowed only seven points in their stretch. The Lions have two games remaining on the schedule and at 4-3 are hoping to make the playoffs, and with the spirit of Wyatt Lardieri, I can see them doing so. Thank you again to Wyatt for sitting down and speaking about North Hunterdon football.