LA News Archive
Groton, MA – On Feb. 1, five of Lawrence Academy's varsity football players signed their collegiate letters of intent.
Head Coach Paul Zukauskas announced that the Class of 2017’s Jake Byczko, Sherron Dailey-Harris, AJ Dillon, Stephen Olive, and Austin Pyne will all hit the NCAA Division-i gridiron next fall.
Jake Byczko ’17 has been at LA for two seasons and next year play for the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
“Jake is someone who shows everyone how you’re supposed to practice,” said Coach Zukauskas. “He takes everything very seriously, works very hard, and is a really tough player.”
Sherron Dailey-Harris ‘17, committed to the University of New Hampshire. A defensive back, Dailey-Harris came to LA as a sophomore and has won three-straight ISL championships with the varsity.
“I’ve learned a lot and matured both academically, athletically, and just as a man in general because of the coaches,” he said when asked how the LA coaching staff prepared him to play in college. “They also don’t have a problem with you failing, but they’ll help you succeed in the end.”
AJ Dillon ’17 is a heralded running back who will attend Boston College next year.
“AJ has had one of the best careers here as an athlete. Maybe the best football play to come through here in terms of what he’s done in four years with the ISL championships,” said Zukauskas. “He’s matured and what I really like about AJ is that he’s become a real leader on the team and that was really positive to see.”
“Coach Z has brought me a long way,” said Dillon. “And Coming from BC, He’s kept it in perspective that college football is nothing like I’ve experienced before.
“He’s prepared me the best he could and I’ve been working a lot with my teammates and we’ve been working a lot for next year.”
Like Dailey-Harris, Stephen Olive ‘17 arrived at LA as a sophomore. A defensive lineman before he arrived in Groton, the Spartan coaches worked with him and found that the offensive line would be a better fit.
“Stephen didn’t really consider himself a football player when he came,” Coach Zukauskas explained. “He considered himself more of a basketball player.
“When I asked him to move to the offensive line, he worked himself really hard. He’s an example for the other students; that if you’re not starting right away as a freshman or sophomore that you can grow and move into a starting role and, even now, have a scholarship to college.”
Olive will be playing for Bryant University in the fall.
Austin Pyne ’17, an offensive lineman, transferred to Lawrence Academy just this year and will be attending Lafayette College in September.
Zukauskas said that Pyne is a tough player who simply loves football.
“He was a great player to coach,” said the Spartan bench boss, a former Boston College and professional lineman himself. “The kids really loved him.”
After speaking to his players and their families, Coach Zukauskas reflected on the Class of 2017’s accomplishments.
“I think its speaks to the kids, the program and our school to have that much success from one program and that class of kids,” he said. “A lot of those kids won three ISL Championships while they were here which is something that hasn’t been done often in the ISL.
“I am just really proud of them.”