Marblehead High football star Joel Katz is following in the footsteps of his father, Bob, who played on the 1964 championship Winthrop High team.
“We won every game but one – we lost to Revere and their great quarterback Jim Del Gaizo, who went on to play for the Miami Dolphins,” recalled Katz, the 64-year-old president of Nu-Tread Tire in East Boston.
Bob Katz played football at Bridgton Academy and Northeastern University following his days as a guard and tackle for the Winthrop Vikings.
His son, Joel, was the senior class president at Marblehead High and sports editor of the school newspaper. The scholar-athlete scored a perfect 800 on the mathematics portion of the SAT and will begin his studies in Business at Northeastern in the fall.
But the NU Huskies have disbanded their football program.
What that means is that Joel Katz will be playing the final game of his career when he suits up for the Harry Agganis All-Star Football Classic Friday night at Manning Field in Lynn. Katz will join Winthrop stars Jimmy Barker and Matt Stasio on the South team.
After sustaining a ruptured spleen injury in the penultimate regular season game versus Beverly, Katz sat out the Thanksgiving game against Swampscott and the Magicians’ ensuing playoff game.
“I pretty much watched from the sidelines which was tough to do but I made the best of it,” said the 5-foot-9-inch, 190-pound NEC All-Star linebacker. “I’m just grateful to be playing in the Agganis Classic because it’s the last football game of my career so it will be a lot of fun and I’m really excited about it. I’m going to Northeastern and they don’t have a football program so it’s definitely my last, full-pad, organized football game.”
Katz said he is familiar with the reputation of Harry Agganis, who starred at Lynn Classical and Boston University before becoming the first baseman for the Boston Red Sox. Agganis died in 1955 at the age of 26.
“I’ve heard all about his legend and it’s pretty amazing because there are no multiple-sport athletes like him and there probably never will be again,” said Katz.
Katz said he was proud to be carrying on the family’s football tradition.
“I’m so proud of my father – and he’s been so supportive of everything I’ve done,” said Katz, whose twin sister, Emily, was captain of the Marblehead High cheerleading squad. He also has an older brother, Mark, who is a student at Roger Williams College.
Interestingly, Katz is the second Marblehead captain and Agganis All-Star to hold a strong Winthrop connection. Last year, Josh Freedland, son of Winthrop High Hall of Fame athlete Susan Goldstein Freeland and Dr. Eric Freedland, played in the game. Freedland is now a member of the Bates College team.