Lombardo’s shipping off to Naval Academy

Lombardo’s shipping off to Naval Academy

Wearing his Naval Academy cap and long-sleeved shirt, Nick Lombardo smiles for a picture after signing his National Letter of Intent to continue his academic and football career with the Midshipmen. The Scituate resident and La Salle Academy senior center, who has been a starter since his freshman year, earned First-Team All-State honors last season.
Scituate resident, La Salle center gets ready to continue football career with Midshipmen

PROVIDENCE – Scituate resident and La Salle Academy senior Nick Lombardo will be continuing his academic and football career at the U.S. Naval Academy next fall, but before he steps foot onto its campus in Annapolis, Md., he still has to tend to a few important matters.

Lombardo still needs to procure a letter of recommendation from Sen. Jack Reed. He has to pass a physical fitness test, get his transcripts in order, and write a few essays to complete the application process.

And he needs to cut his long, flowing hair, which has been a trademark of his since he cracked the Rams’ starting lineup as a freshman guard and continued his career as a First-Team All-State center last season.

“I have to go bald,” the 6-foot-2, 285-pound lineman said with a laugh. “They say it’s a crew cut, but it’s pretty bald. It’s hard, but it’s a sacrifice. I have to sacrifice my hair to have a good future.”

Lombardo took a big step toward “a good future” last Wednesday morning, Dec. 16, by signing his National Letter of Intent to the Naval Academy, with his family proudly looking on, during a small ceremony inside La Salle’s alumni dining room.

The Air Force Academy, Sacred Heart, Bryant, Georgetown, Cornell, and Bucknell were among the schools that presented offers to Lombardo for his services, but the opportunity to attend a school as prestigious as the Naval Academy and play for the Midshipmen – Lombardo attended a game last season against Southern Methodist University – was simply too good to pass up.

“They were the first school to offer me,” noted Lombardo, who made his verbal commitment on July 3 and plans to study engineering. “I was dedicated to the Naval Academy, and this is the place that I really want to go. You graduate with a guaranteed job, you come out with great leadership qualities, and (the Naval Academy) has great academics and big-time football.”

Lombardo’s signing with the Naval Academy was a proud moment for not only his family and friends, but also for the La Salle community and the Rams’ football program, and one player that was thrilled for Lombardo was his quarterback from the past three seasons, Nate Lussier.

“I’m so happy for Nick,” added Lussier, who is a freshman signal-caller on the Brown University football team. “He really deserves to go there. He’s the hardest-working player that I’ve played with. He goes in his basement and lifts probably six or seven days a week. And the way he is, just so selfless, to see him going to Navy is unbelievable.”

Lombardo began his football career playing for the Tri-Town Titans, and after three seasons in that organization, he continued his young career playing for the CLCF Chiefs in Cranston before making a splash as a freshman at La Salle and landing a starting role on the offensive line.

With Lombardo in the lineup, the Rams, who had lost to Hendricken in the Division I Super Bowl in the last three seasons, didn’t lose a beat in returning to the title game, and this time, toppling the then-unbeaten Hawks, 22-21.

“Nick’s progression from his freshman year has been unbelievable,” noted Lussier. “He came in just some big guy, but he’s done some much with his footwork. And He’s the first kid in La Salle history to get a (championship) ring as a freshman. (Athletic director) Mr. (Ted) Quigley said he’s never given a ring to a freshman before, but Nick got one and he absolutely deserved it.”

As a sophomore guard, Lombardo helped the Rams return to the Super Bowl, only to fall to the Hawks, and last year, with Lombardo moving to center, the Rams enjoyed another winning season, but lost in the D-I semifinals to North Kingstown.

As for this season, Lombardo, like every high school football player and coach in this state, has his fingers crossed that there will be an abbreviated season this spring, but he’s unsure if he will be able to suit up for the Rams should they indeed take the field.

“It’s going to be a hard decision to make,” he admitted. “I’m not sure if I can play because the seasons with Navy and La Salle would be so close to each other. I just hope the guys on my team can get a season – the same for the other kids in the league – just so they can get film out there (to college coaches). I know a lot of them are on the edge of getting offers to some schools, and definitely not having a senior season would hinder that process.”

For now, Lombardo is preparing to play football and take his physical fitness test next month.

“I’ve been trying to lose a little bit of weight for my test,” added Lombardo, who noted that on the test’s checklist was running a mile in under nine minutes and completing a series of push-ups, pull-ups, and sit-ups. “I’m around 285 right now and I feel pretty good. I’m just trying to put on a lot of muscle.”

As for his hair?

‘Everyone’s been trying to get me to cut it right now,” Lombardo said. “I’m trying to have this for as long as I can. I have another six months before I leave, so I’m not sure if I want to cut it yet.”