Reading the newspaper was a common occurrence first thing in the morning at my house. While the rush for the sports section caused its fair share of arguments, eventually everyone got a turn. But it didn’t take long for us to recognize the top high school programs in the area — and Staples was always up there.

Thanks in great deal to Marce Petroccio. Although 2017 was the final year in Westport for the longtime coach, it was the first year I spent covering the man behind the success of the Wreckers.

Through our conversations and postgame interviews, two things stood out about Coach P. He loved coaching football and he loved his players.

It was evident whether he was on the sidelines during a Friday night or during a normal weekly practice.

Obviously the success and longevity speak to both the passion that Petroccio had for the Wreckers program and the slew of athletes that laid everything on the line for him each week for the last 25 years.

Although this reporter had only one season to see Coach P in action, the reputation and success preceded him to the days when the words “Staples” and “state champions” were synonymous on that old sports section.

The ride may have come to an end in Westport — but it was a great one with plenty of amazing memories and it was because of Coach P.

ajohnson@hearstmedia

ct.com; @aronJohnson_