WATERTOWN - The Watertown High School Gridiron Club Hall of Fame will be holding its 23rd Annual Enshrinement Dinner at the Grand Oak Villa, 550 Sylvan Lake Road in Oakville, on Sunday, November 18 at 12 p.m. This year’s inductees are Chris Mullins (2007), Dan Spadola (2003), Matt Sheeks (2008), and David Jancarski (1973).

Community Service awards will be presented to Charlie and Cindy Mazzarella; the College Player of the Year Award will be presented to Matt Terlizzi (2014). 

“If for some reason supporters are unable to attend, please consider a donation,” said Hall of Fame president Bruce Cianciolo.

“All money raised is channeled back into the program,” said Cianciolo, “and all money is spent on football and only football, with every dime we get going back to the kids and the program.

“With your help, we’ve bought equipment for the weight room, for the practice field, paid for all the boys to participate in two passing leagues and entrance fees into weight lifting competitions,” Cianciolo said.

THE HONOREES 

CHRIS MULLINS

Chris, who graduated from Watertown High School in 2007, has been active in many youth sports in Watertown through this life such as baseball, hockey, and lacrosse.

Chris was a three-sport athlete at WHS, playing football hockey and lacrosse; he joined the Watertown football team in 2004 and in 2005 started on both the offensive and defensive lines and was named the team’s most improved player at the end of the season.

He was named one of five captains at the start of his senior year in 2006 and was named the Thanksgiving Day Most Valuable Player in the game known as the “Mud Bowl.”

Following graduation from WHS, Chris enrolled at Western New England College in Springfield, Massachusetts to study Criminal Justice and continue playing football.

Chris, who was a four-year starter on the offensive line for the Golden Bears, was there in 2010, helping WNE win their first post season game (the ECAC North Central Bowl); for this, he was named ‘College Player of the Year’ by the Watertown Gridiron Club.

In 2011, Chris was a key player in helping WNE win their first-ever New England Football Conference championship and play in the NCAA D-III postseason.

Chris earned All-New England Football Conference honors at right tackle and was named the team’s offensive MVP.

Chris graduated from WNE with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice; following graduation Chris returned home and found a way to stay involved in football, as he became the offensive line coach for the Holy Cross Crusaders under head coach Mike Giampetruzzi. Chris is now in his seventh season with HC and has helped many student-athletes reach their goal of playing college football.

Chris is a Correction Officer for the State of Connecticut at Garner Correctional Institution in Newtown; he lives in Watertown with his wife Monica.

DAN SPADOLA

Dan Spadola grew up in Oakville and his parents got him involved in youth sports at a young age, playing football, basketball, and baseball throughout his childhood, passions which continued with football and baseball when he got to Watertown High School.

Dan, a 2003 graduate of WHS, lettered in varsity football and baseball all four years he played; as a football player, Dan played running back and inside linebacker; he was selected as xaptain his senior year.

During his junior and senior seasons, Dan was named to the All-NVL and All-State Teams; as a junior, he was a co-winner of the team MVP award and won the MVP award as a senior.

He also played in the New Haven County- Fairfield County All-Star Game his senior year.

After high school, Dan continued to play Division 1 Football at Wagner College in Staten Island, N.Y. During his freshman season, he dressed and traveled with the varsity team for every game and started in one game.

During spring practice the following year, Dan suffered a knee injury and didn’t play football again; however, he continued studying at both Wagner and then Central Connecticut State University before deciding to move to New York and start working in Manhattan.

In New York, Dan began working for his brother in the Wine and Spirits Industry and has built his career around the sale of fine wines.

Currently, Dan works in Yorktown Heights, NY as the General Manager and Head Wine Buyer for Suburban Wines and Spirits.

After getting married and living in New York for 10 years, Dan and his wife, Lisa Merolle, decided to move back to Connecticut when they found out they were expecting their first child.

Dan and Lisa moved to Middlebury in 2016 and soon after welcomed their son, James.

Dan looks forward to the day he can introduce football to his son, teaching him, throughout the way, that the lessons he learns on the field will make him a better man off the field, like Dan’s father Dave did for him.

MATT SHEEKS

Matt Sheeks, a member of the WHS Class of 2008, has been fortunate enough to excel on-and-off the field.

As a citizen of Watertown, he is honored to be recognized by teh Gridiron Club.

Matt began playing football at 11 years of age in Pop Warner; from there football became a way of life, and it didn’t stop for 11 more years.

A lot happened during that time, which extended well after Matt hung up the cleats.

As a freshman in high school he earned the respect of his peers to become a co-captain of the team, and their success wasn’t measured in wins and losses but in the unforgettable time he and his teammates had as friends.

The following years showed progress and continued improvement; Matt found himself as a senior co-captain of his team, humbled by every minute of the experience. He was recognized his junior and senior year as one of the NVL’s outstanding offensive linemen.

However, during this entire time he was also representing Watertown football in the classroom, graduating third in his class, as class president, and was accepted into Wesleyan University…and he was going to play football.

College was a learning experience, but the skills and mindset learned from Watertown gave him confidence that he needed to succeed.

The pre-med course load, becoming a member of a fraternity, and playing football at this higher level proved to be difficult, but Matt succeeded, maintaining a 3.6 GPA as a Neuroscience and Psychology major while also earning three varsity letters for his play on the football field.

In the 2010 season Matt and his line mates led the way for the all-time single season rushing leader who broke the record by nearly 400 yards, a record which still stands to this day.

Matt wasn’t done yet; medicine was always a passion for him and it led at him being accepted into multiple top-ranked Physician Assistant programs, with saw him decide that he would attend Northeastern University in Boston, where he earned his Masters of Science with a 3.7 GPA.

After two grueling years of work, Matt is currently employed as a Surgical PA at Saint Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury.

Matt said, “I am a grateful man that owes so much to this town, and am now trying to help another young 11-year-old kid, like myself all those years ago, achieve his dream.”

DAVID JANCARSKI

Dave attended Watertown High School from 1970 to 1973, playing football, where he was a captain during his senior year; he also played basketball aqnd golfed for all four years.

From 1974 to 1977, he attended Trinity College where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Math and also played football for all four years, earning All-Conference Weekly Honors (vs. Colby in 1976).

He went to Aviation Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, FL, from March until June of 1978; from there he attended Naval Aviation Flight School (T-34C) in Whiting Field, FL from July to December of 1978.

January through August of 1979, David went through Basic Jet Flight Training (T-2C Buckeye) at NAS in Meridian, MS; Advanced Jet Flight Training (TA-4 Skyhawk) at Meridian followed from September of 1979 until April of 1980.

David advanced to the role of a Naval Flight Instructor (T2-C) at NAS from May of 1980 until December of 1981; his climb continued from January through August of 1982 as part of RAG (Replacement Air Group Squadron/VF-101) at NAS in Oceana, VA.

From Septeamber of 1982 until February of 1986 he was with the VF-31 Tomcatters (F-14) at NAS Oceana and the USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67).

After his active military career ended in March of 1986, David became a Commercial Airline Pilot (Capt. US Airways and American Airlines), an occuaption he has enjoyed for more than 32 years.

CHARLIE & CINDY

MAZZARELLA

Charlie and Cindy moved to Oakville 24 years ago; originally their plan was to stay for five years, but they fell in love with the town and its’ people.

Charlie was born and raised in Plainville and graduated from Plainville High School; he then went on to get his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Physics from Central Connecticut State University.

He is currently a Director of Regulatory Affairs at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals in Danbury where he has worked for the past 26 years in multiple therapeutic areas such as Cardiovascular, Metabolisim, Virology, Oncology, and Immunology.

Cindy grew up in Simsbury and graduated from Simsbury High School; she then attended University of Rhode Island where she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education.

Cindy worked at UConn Health Center for 20 years as a Research Assistant where she worked on a variety of federally funded grants.

Charlie and Cindy have two teenage children who have participated in many different sports in town and in the schools.

Charlie Jr. is a senior and is a captain on the Watertown High School football team; in the spring he will be in his second year on the lacrosse team.

Allison is a sophomore and plays on the girls’ volleyball and basketball teams and is on the Lady Indians’ track and field team.

As parents, Charlie and Cindy have a vital understanding of how important it is to be involved in the schools and the community; over the years, Cindy has been an active member of the PTO’s at John Trumbull, Polk, Swift and Watertown High School including being Co-President at Swift and she is currently Secretary on the Watertown High School PTO.

Also, Cindy was a Cub Scout Leader for five years with Troop 52 and is in her fourth year as a Girl Scout Leader for Troop 64003.

She is an active member of the WHS Gridiron Club, as well as the parent booster clubs for the WHS Girls Volleyball and Girls Basketball Teams.

During many of these years, Charlie’s job consisted of a lot of international travel; however, he would help and support the schools and community in any way he could.

For example, he participated in STEM night at Swift Middle School where he taught students about Physics; he also helped in many fundraising activities for the high school’s robotic team, Team 237 “Black Magic.”

Although Charlie has a busy work schedule, he attends all varsity football games and as many as he can of the JV and Freshmen games, where he takes pictures and then posts them on a web page for families and friends of the players.

He also takes pictures at as many of the volleyball games, girls basketball games and boys lacrosse games that he can attend.

Charlie is currently in his second year as President of WHS Gridiron Club.

Through his outstanding leadership abilities, he has helped increase parent and player participation in Gridiron activities.

He has guided the group in many fundraising activities that has allowed the Gridiron to purchase an endzone and sideline camera system as well as other equipment that will help the football program for years to come.  

MATT TERLIZZI

Matt was born in Wallingford and started his football playing career there; during this time, he became a New York Giants fan.  His football career started at age six for the Wallingford Pop Warner program.

During time he always tried to emulate his two favorite players: Tiki Barber and Michael Strahan.

Matt and his family moved to Watertown where his playing career continued for 16 years.

In 2010, Matt was awarded Watertown’s Pop Warner “Iron Man” Award.

Matt attended Watertown High School, where he played running back and strong safety during his four years in the program. He was a varsity starter his junior and senior year and was voted captain his senior year.

In his senior year, Matt led the Indians in interceptions and also received the Thanksgiving Day Sportsmanship Award.

Matt was also an NVL honorable mention in his senior year.

Upon graduation, Matt was recruited to play football for Post University in Waterbury.

While at Post, he started at fullback his freshman year in his sophomore year he played both sides of the ball playing running back and middle linebacker.

His junior and senior years of college have concentrated on the defensive side of the ball as a starting middle linebacker; he’s also been a two-year captain.

Matt will graduate with a degree in Sports Management in May, 2019.

TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets information is available from Mark Stukshis at 860-567-8431 or email at mstukshis@clickbond.com.

Other contacts are Stan DeMayo at 203-758-2665, stanleyd@snet.net or Bruce Cianciolo at 860-274-4537, bruce_cianciolo@siemon.com.

Mail any correspondence to 22 Malvern Hill Road, Watertown, CT 06795.

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