Sports Person of the Week
Belisle Lays it on the Line for the Warriors
Weston Belisle poses problems for the opposition as a two-way lineman on the Valley Regional-Old Lyme football squad. Weston plays right guard and defensive tackle for the Warriors. (Photo courtesy of Weston Belisle)
Weston Belisle hardly ever comes off the field for the Valley Regional-Old Lyme football squad, because he’s such a valuable player on both sides of the ball. Weston, a junior lineman, plays right guard on offense and is a tackle on defense for the Warriors. Head Coach Tim King relies on Weston to provide a formidable presence with his strength up front.
Weston moved to the line at a young age after seeing some time as a linebacker. While linemen don’t always get the most attention, Weston knows that the guys in the trenches play a key role in helping any team succeed.
“I was linebacker when I first started youth football. As I got older, I got shifted down on the line for defense. I’ve been on the D-line since 4th or 5th grade,” Weston says. “I’d say that I like being a lineman. I play to win, not to get on TV or get in the paper.”
Weston does double duty by playing on both the offensive and defensive lines. His strategy for success on either side is based on the situation in the game.
“On offense, what I’m trying to do really depends on where the play is going. I’m trying to get my guy out of the way of the hole. I’m pretty good at pulling, and I can get a few pancakes,” says Weston. “On defense, I’m mostly focused on stopping inside run plays. That’s mostly because I’m usually being double-teamed by the offensive line.”
Weston packs plenty of power on the lines for Valley. Weston works out relentlessly in the weight room, and his effort has shown up on both the field and in the Pequot Conference Weightlifting Competition.
“I’m probably proudest of how much I’ve improved lifting. In the offseason, we lift pretty much every day,” Weston says. “I’d say one of my biggest feats is getting my bench press to 295 pounds. At the Pequot, we won in the top bracket. I was the only one that placed for squat. I also took third for clean, and on bench I took second place.”
After getting his first break as a rotational player last season, Weston is seeing more minutes for the Warriors this fall. Weston is always on the field for offense and only takes brief breaks when playing defense.
“Last year on the offensive line, I started rotating in for Ben Falivene. I started on the defensive line. This year, I started both ways,” says Weston, who lives in Chester. “On defense, we usually have a rotation with other players. The offensive line does not change during the whole game. It comes down to conditioning at the beginning of the season. I come off for special teams, except I’m on for extra points.”
Coach King respects the amount of effort that Weston gives him on a daily basis. He also likes seeing Weston in the weight room throughout the offseason. Most of all, King appreciates that Weston is a stand-up guy who’s always trying to get better by identifying the areas where he can improve.
“Weston’s just a great, hard-working young man. He’s got a never-give-up attitude. He’s probably one of our strongest players on the team. He was always in the weight room this offseason and in the summer. He didn’t miss a day,” King says. “Weston corrects his mistakes right away. He owns up to them and doesn’t come up with excuses. He’s a no-excuse type of kid.”
Weston’s love for football stems from being part of a football family. His father Dan and his older brother Ben both played football for the Warriors. Weston started early and quickly excelled in the sport. Now, he’s competing at a high level for Valley-Old Lyme.
“I started at a young age. I played on the 4th-grade team as a 2nd grader. After that, I played up one grade through youth all the way to 7th grade,” says Weston, who also plays defense for Valley boys’ lacrosse. “It’s basically that everyone in my family did it, so they started me young. My dad and both of his brothers played. They all played for Valley, too.”
After losing so many key players from last year, the Warriors are going through a bit of a rebuilding season in 2019. Still, Weston feels proud to be part of such a storied program that has so many quality players and coaches.
“So far, I feel pretty good. I feel this year is a recovery year, because much of our team is really young,” Weston says. “We lost a lot of seniors, but we’re getting stronger, and that recovery isn’t going to be continuing much more.”