Sports Person of the Week
LaRosa Loves Suiting Up for the Cougars
Senior Daniel LaRosa, a linebacker for the H-K football team, is hoping for one more chance to take the gridiron before he graduates. (Photo courtesy of Daniel LaRosa )
From the moment that he was old enough to put on a helmet and pads, Daniel LaRosa knew he was meant to play the sport of football.
A senior at Haddam-Killingworth High School, Daniel has played middle and outside linebacker for the Cougars for the past few seasons. This marks Daniel’s 11th year as a member of the H-K football program. After starting with football at age six, Daniel has prided himself on getting better every year that he’s been on the gridiron.
“I have always watched football, and my dad played football in high school and told me all about it. As soon as I was old enough to play, I knew I wanted to,” says Daniel. “My favorite aspect of football is the brotherhood. We do everything together as a team. We pick each other up when we’re down, and we boost each other further up when we’re already there.”
H-K finished with a record of 2-8 during Daniel’s junior campaign in 2019. However, Daniel still saw several notable moments with the team throughout the season, one of which came when the Cougars earned a 19-14 victory over rival Morgan.
“My favorite moment from last season was our game against our rival school Morgan,” Daniel says. “We were previously winless in the season. We came out to their home field with our whole school there supporting us. We ended up winning a hard-fought battle, and everyone was so filled with emotion. It really made an impact on me, and I will never forget it.”
The fall football season has been canceled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some good news came last week, though, when the CIAC announced that it has plans for an alternative season where football could potentially be played in spring 2021.
“I just want my teammates and I to keep working. Whether the decision to have a season works out or not, it would greatly benefit us if we kept working as a team,” says Daniel. “I want to keep working on myself, as well. I would say that I need to improve on my size. Most linebackers are big, strong guys, and I don’t fit that. I need to get in the weight room more often and for a longer amount of time.”
Daniel currently weighs 170 pounds, but his goal is to get up to 190 by the time spring arrives. He plans to do that by lifting and eating healthy.
Aside from getting stronger, Daniel has been working on his speed with H-K Head Coach Erik Becker. Daniel credits Becker for getting his 40-yard dash time down from 5.3 seconds to a 4.9.
“My relationship with Coach Becker is great. He’s an all-around great guy. In just the few weeks of one-hour practices, I’ve already broken my own personal record for the 40-yard dash three times because of his teachings,” Daniel says. “He cares a lot about his kids on and off the field and will do anything for any one of us. Coach Becker teaches us that we need to run fast to get fast. We test 40s once a week, which improves our speed. We run at a full sprint with breaks in between.”
Coach Becker views Daniel as a hard worker, a leader, and a thoughtful person. Becker is proud of the senior for trimming that time off of his 40-yard sprint.
“Daniel has worked hard to become the best he can be,” says Becker. “He’s gotten down from a 5.3 to a 4.9. Speed is the ultimate difference maker. We work hard to maximize it.”
Aside from football, Daniel competes for the H-K wrestling team in the winter and plays for the boys’ lacrosse squad during the spring. For fun, Daniel enjoys spending time with his friends, playing with his dog, swimming, and listening to music.
While he likes all his of sports, Daniel has been playing football for the longest of the three. Daniel loves football so much that he helped set up a rally in Hartford where players from around the state banded together to try to save the 2020 campaign. Daniel spoke at the rally alongside teammates Brien McNamara and Kevin Cavrell.
“Football is my main sport and the one I’ve been with the longest,” Daniel says. “One of my proudest accomplishments is that after the cancellation of the season in Connecticut, two of my teammates and I arranged a rally at the state Capitol, where I gave a speech to try and regain our season.”