Dudley's Anthony Wilga will attend Nichols College in the Fall
Text and photos by Steev Riccardo
DUDLEY – Sometimes you don’t have to go very far to get far.
Eighteen-year-old Anthony Wilga has lived in the same house on the same street in the same town his entire life and it looks like that will not be changing very soon, as the recent Shepherd Hill graduate and football star will be attending Nichols College in the Fall.
Wilga, aka “The Wilga Beast,” as he is known around Dudley, topped off an outstanding career scoring 13 touchdowns last season, making it 23 scores in his last two years. When you consider how many weapons the Rams had in their backfield, that’s quite an accomplishment.
Heavily recruited and narrowing his choice down to three schools, Wilga elected to stay in his hometown of Dudley and play football for Kevin Loney at Nichols College. There aren’t many people around here who can find anything wrong with that choice.
Loney recently made it publicly known that he wanted to get more local guys on his football team and picked a pretty good player to back his word.
Wilga has been playing football since he was six years old and has gotten better and better throughout the years. The only thing that ever held him back were injuries and even then he did everything he could do to get back on the field, and did so successfully.
Shepherd Hill head football coach Chris Lindstrom saw a lot in him early and called him into duty during his freshman year when the team was shorthanded at fullback. He didn’t disappoint and ended up seeing significant action the last three games of the year, including playing both on the offense and the defense on Thanksgiving Day against rival Tantasqua.
With tons of promise heading into his sophomore year he blew his knee out (MCL and ACL) six games into the season against Northbridge and his high school career was temporarily on hold.
Wilga worked hard to get ready for his junior year and that’s when everything started to click. “My junior year was my favorite year. No one really knew who I was. I had to work hard to get my starting job back and I did.”
Yeah he did, to the tune of three touchdowns and 130 yards in the season opener against Groton-Dunstable. He went on to have an excellent year, rushing for 890 yards and scoring 10 touchdowns.
In his final high school season, the 5’10” 210 pound fullback had many individual high points, running for 800 yards and scoring 13 touchdowns, but it was his team’s huge wins over Auburn and Bartlett that he remembers most.
“I was happy beating Auburn after we lost 18-14 in our junior year. It was crazy, looking around seeing the whole place packed and winning that one and I love beating Bartlett.”
Once his football career officially ended, he went and visited Salve Regina College, Western New England College, and of course Nichols, and his decision was not a difficult one. “I was impressed with the way the coaches talked to me one and one, plus it is nearby.”
Wilga didn’t see any Nichols games last season but has seen lots of film and said he feels comfortable around the campus and has already started working out and lifting weights to get ready for the August 16 training camp.
All this and ‘The Wilga Beast’ gets to stay close to his parents Sandy and Gary and his extended family, which also includes first cousins and fellow graduates and star athletes Kyle McKissick (Shepherd Hill) and Lindsay Bond (Bartlett).
You get the feeling the local attendance will probably be on the rise this fall on the Hill, the other hill that is.
- Wednesday, 25 July 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Sports