Winthrop’s Tufa Excels in Agganis Football Game
By Cary Shuman
Calvin Tufa completed his high school football career with a thrilling victory, helping the South defeat the North, 28-26, on the last play of the Harry Agganis All-Star Football Game Friday night at Manning Field in Lynn.
Tufa, a captain of the 2017 Winthrop High football team, was on the field at left tackle when Lynnfield High quarterback Matthew Mortellite rolled to the right and then dove in to the end zone as time expired in the 57th annual game.
The game-winning play capped off a productive performance from Tufa, who played well on both sides of the ball. In addition to his stellar work at left tackle and right guard, the 6-foot, 240-pounder played at nose tackle, making seven tackles, including a couple of key stops on the North’s final possession.
“It was a hard-fought game,” said Tufa. “These boys are all hard workers and deserve to be All-Stars. It was nice to win it on the last play. To wear the gold helmet one last time and be representing Winthrop, I’m proud to be a Winthrop kid, and being an All-Star was a great honor.”
Tufa was a four-year Viking under coach Sean Driscoll, whom he thanked in his post-game remarks. Tufa was the recipient of the Irving Alexander Trophy for giving the most to the Winthrop football program in his career.
Martellite credited Tufa and his linemates for their excellent blocking, especially on the game-winning drive.
“The O-line did a really good job tonight, especially on that last drive,” said Martellite, who will be attending St. Lawrence University. “Getting the winning touchdown is something you dream about as a kid, and to end my high school career like that is pretty awesome.”
Winthrop assistant coach James Fucillo was an assistant on the South staff. Fucillo played in the 2007 Agganis Game after quarterbacking Winthrop to an undefeated Super Bowl championship season in 2006. His brother, Anthony, was the MVP of the 2005 Agganis Game.
Fucillo, who served as South defensive coordinator, said that Tufa did his job well. “Calvin did what I expected of him – he came out and got the job well done,” said Fucillo. “When our defense needed a stop, he was out there making the stop to give our offense a chance to go down and make a score to win the game. He’s tough as nails and we’re going to miss him next year.”
Tufa, the 18-year-old son of Genci and Marinela Tufa, will be continuing his football career at Merrimack College.