By Warren Rappleyea
Old Bridge High School’s boys lacrosse team will open the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) Tournament at home May 10, and the game will serve as a fundraiser for the families of two students whose homes were destroyed by fires.
The game is being billed as “Play for a Purpose” and will benefit the families of Jason Padon and Tyler Wiener.
Knights coach Andrew Borriello said one of his players, Dominic Regina, asked if the team could do something for the Padon family, whose home burned down April 17. A few days later, the Wiener home was destroyed and the team decided to do the event for both families.
Assistant coach Andrew Amendola, a junior class adviser, also played a key role in organizing the event. He noted that Regina and students Joe Ivanac, Peter Triantafillou and Matt Vigil were all involved.
“We have to give the credit to the students,” Amendola said. “After the first fire, there were students waiting for me in my office the next morning. It’s really a testament to Old Bridge and the kind of culture we have in the community. It’s such a great place.”
Vice Principal Sally Fazio echoed Amendola’s remarks and said she, too, was approached by students to help the families.
“Our motto here is ‘do the right thing,’ ” she said. “That can range from picking up a piece of litter in the hallway to doing something like this. This has been an amazing response. I’m just overwhelmed about the way students and families in Old Bridge care about each other.”
Borriello said wrist bracelets and t-shirts are being sold in school and will be available at the game for $5 and $10, respectively. Either is good for admission.
“Everyone moved so fast to make this happen — students, teachers, the administration,” the coach said. “We’re also going to be donating the proceeds from the concession stand.”
Old Bridge, seeded third in the GMC, will likely line up against Edison High School in the game, which kicks off at 7 p.m. at Lombardi Field.
The Knights are 8-5 on the year after a tough loss to powerful Summit High School May 2. Borriello’s team has done well in the GMC, with its lone conference loss coming early in the season to Saint Joseph High School of Metuchen.
Old Bridge is coming off a 9-8 victory over South Brunswick High School in its last conference matchup April 28. Thomas Francy led the way with four goals, increasing his team-leading total to 34 tallies to go with 16 assists. Jonathan Ortiz stopped 10 shots in goal, and Justin Fox scored twice in the win and now has 17 goals on the year.
The Knights’ other top scorers include Micah Trawick with 26 goals and 20 assists and Bryce Walker, who has eight goals and 20 assists.
“We’ve had a few tough non-conference losses to teams like Summit and New Providence, but our guys have learned from playing such good teams,” Borriello said. “That really will help us when the tournament begins.”