Lavalette newest inductee into Green Wave Gridiron Club Hall of Fame
A member of the New Milford High School class of 1987, Lavalette was a three-year varsity starter, playing wide receiver and defensive back. He gave a glimpse of things to come his sophomore season when he led the team with five touchdown receptions.
It’s been a while since Lavalette was a member of the Green Wave, but he felt right at home and was welcomed with open arms.
“We were really impressed by everyone from the Green Wave Gridiron Club. Together their interest in connecting the current program with the past is something we truly appreciate,” he said. “You don't know where you are going unless you know where you have been and their efforts to enhance New Milford football are notable. They made us all feel welcome and special, like we are still part of the New Milford football family.”
As a junior, Lavalette shone as a defensive back, recording a school record 12 interceptions. That team captured the “Boot” by beating Newtown for the first time in 18 years and Lavalette helped lead the team to its first winning season in 18 years. He was named to the WCC All-Conference team that season.
As a senior Lavalette was a captain and finished his high school career #1 in school history with 19 total TD’s and 16 Interceptions. He was once again named to the WCC All-Conference team and was the Rosato Award winner and MVP.
Lavalette was honored at halftime of New Milford’s 34-12 victory over Stratford on Oct. 28, and he liked what he saw, not only from the Gridiron Club but also what he saw of the Green Wave team both on and off the field.
“It was my first trip back to the new Joe Wiser football stadium and my family and I were impressed by many things. First, Coach Larry Badaracco. It all starts and ends with the head coach and he clearly has this program on the right course,” Lavalette said. “This is not only seen in the team’s quality performance on the field. It is clear in the character displayed by his players and the staff he has surrounded himself with. The future is bright with him at the helm.”
Lavalette took in the game with family and friends, including his parents, Lenny and Beth, who he said were always there for him through everything and they continue to be there for him and his family now. Lavalette’s wife, Sarah, and their sons, Logan and Jake, made the trip as well.
“They came into my life long after the glory days but believe me they have had to relive plenty of it,” Lavalette joked.
Lavalette was also able to catch up with friends and teammates from his past. He said it was great to catch up with the Cummings brothers, Norm and Art, who Lavalette said “followed me, covered me and encouraged me all along the way. I am one of many on whom they have made a lasting impression.”
Lavalette ran into many teammates and friends from his time at New Milford High School, and even a couple of coaches, sharing stories of their younger days and just as many stories about their own children.
In college, Lavalette was a three-year starter at Division 1-AA Holy Cross, where he played on back to back Patriot Division Championship teams and earned Academic All-American Second Team honors. In 1990, he received a National Football Foundation/Hall of Fame Scholarship and also received 1990 NCAA Post Graduate Scholars Honors.
Lavalette graduated from Holy Cross and UConn Medical School and currently owns and practices pediatrics at Smartstart Pediatrics in Glastonbury.
“Football for me was instrumental in so many ways … beyond the joys of playing. Through it I became close with people I otherwise might not have had that much in common with,” Lavalette said. “The lessons we learned on the practice field, in weight rooms, at team meetings and on game day are with me still. What most people see on game day is just the final product, it's a small piece of what it all means. So much of what it's all about happens when no one is watching.
“What is going on with New Milford football helps me feel like something I valued so much is just as important now as it was to me then. I want to say thank you so much for allowing me that.”