SOUTHINGTON — Shane Laporte and Jeff Wyskiewicz were both captains for the Southington football team this school year, and while they didn’t get a traditional final high school season, they will be continuing their gridiron careers together in college.
The duo is headed to the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine.
Laporte is a jack-of-all trades player who’s manned nearly every position that wasn’t on the line. Wyskiewicz is a linebacker.
They are also, according to Southington head coach Mike Drury, well respected by their teammates and coaches.
“These guys were the glue of the team and kept everyone working together and held everyone around them accountable,” Drury said.
Laporte’s versatility was on display in 2019. He got several starts at quarterback and completed 24 of 34 passes for 209 yards. Once Brady Lafferty settled in behind center, Laporte moved to receiver and caught 24 passes for 279 yards as the Blue Knights went 10-2 and advanced to the Class LL state semifinals.
“You can plug him in anywhere and he will be successful,” Drury said. “He’s a dynamic, do-it-all-type asset and a tremendous kid to coach over the years.”
The 5-foot-9, 185-pound Laporte was a two-year starter. He also saw varsity time as a sophomore.
“He’s a guy who gets it,” Drury said. “There was never any position bigger than him. He was all in on that.”
Laporte said he went on a few visits and was happy with the opportunity to play college football. He said the University of New England coaches have spoken to him about playing tight end or slot receiver. Other schools were looking at him as a running back.
“In my senior year I showed I’m a versatile player,” Laporte said. “I played safety, slot receiver and tight end. I played all over the field and learned the game from so many different positions. I feel I can do a little of everything on the field.”
The son of Chris and Kim Laporte was introduced to the game at age 7 through flag football.
“I grew a love for football in high school and the sport taught me so much in life,” Laporte said.
Also a former baseball player — Laporte was part of the Southington South Little League’s dynasty run of 2013-15 — he’ll be trying out for coach Charlie Lembo’s Blue Knights this spring after not playing for several years.
At the University of New England, Laporte will study exercise science in hopes of becoming an athletic trainer. He’ll be rooming with Wyskiewicz.
“As soon as I made my decision, he said he was going there too and we are rooming together,” Laporte said. “He’s a great leader and a great captain. He worked twice as hard as everyone else and had a great senior year.”
Wyskiewicz was a first-year starter at middle linebacker last fall as Southington played several independent league games after the CIAC cancelled the high school season.
“Jeff was like having another coach on that side of the ball; he knew every drill,” Drury remarked. “He is such a knowledgeable player, and that allows him to play faster. He’s able to diagnose a play quickly.
“He’s worked his tail off and it was great having him. He could run his position group without batting an eye. To have that type of leadership is high-level stuff.”
Wyskiewicz said playing college football was always a goal for him. He’s played the sport since he was in third grade. He was in the Southington High program for four years.
“I love this team,” Wyskiewicz said. “This program is great. There’s nothing better than being on this team.
“I describe myself on the field as hard-working,” Wyskiewicz added. “I’m always willing to learn. I’m always into it and focused on the field. I’m always listening to coaches and peers. Building up to college, I’m focusing on lifting and hitting the field and keeping my grades up.”
Like Laporte, Wyskiewicz will study exercise science and physical therapy.
In Biddeford, the two Blue Knights will see some familiar faces. Former teammate Kyle Messenger is in his sophomore year at the Universit of New England. Eric Langland, a Southington native who went to St. Paul, is a junior.