MIDDLETOWN >> Middletown High formally presented Dario Highsmith with the Gatorade Connecticut High School Football Player of the Year award Monday afternoon at MHS.
Present were Highsmith, his parents Dario Sr. and Monica, Middletown High School athletic director Michael Pitruzzello and football coach Sal Morello.
“This award says a lot about the young man and the kind of student-athlete he is,” said Morello, whose team was 11-2 and a state Class L semi-finalist. “It also says something about the direction our program is going and says a lot about his teammates. There are so many good football players in the state and to recognize Dario out of all of those reflects not only his success but also that of his team.”
Highsmith, a junior quarterback/defensive back, admitted that he did not expect the award.
“No, I didn’t think about winning this,” Highsmith said. “I am really thankful for my teammates, because without them I wouldn’t have received this.”
Dario Sr., one of the school’s all-time great running backs, said, “If there is anyone who deserves this, it’s him. But that’s because he asks for nothing. He just plays for the love of the game and understands that awards are a bonus.”
Highsmith was named to the Hartford Courant All-State football team over the weekend. He was also named to the Walter Camp Foundation All-State team and was in the top four for the Walter Camp Foundation Player of the Year award.
“I was very excited when I heard,” said Dario Sr. “It was sort of unbelievable. I had to call Sal to make sure it was true.”
Monica Highsmith admitted to not knowing much about football until she met Dario in college.
“I graduated from Middletown High, but I wasn’t much of a football fan,” she said. “It’s kind of cool that my husband, my brothers-in-law and my son are all football guys. Now I find it exciting and fun.”