Luke MacPhail rushed for an 84-yard touchdown on the first play of his senior season for the Dexter Southfield football team.
It was a preview of the many outstanding plays to come for the 6-feet, 4-inch, 218-pound Dexter Southfield quarterback from Winthrop.
MacPhail went on to complete a sensational season and prep school career, finishing as the fifth most productive passer in Massachusetts history in touchdowns (85) and yards (7,195) while also setting NEPSAC records. He led Dexter to its second consecutive bowl game at Gillette Stadium and was All-New England Player of the Year.
A two-time Dexter captain and team MVP, MacPhail had been on the radar of big-time college football programs across the country for the past three years.
MacPhail has made his college decision official, announcing that he will be continuing his football career at Syracuse University, a member of the powerful Atlantic Coast Conference.
MacPhail had visited the campus in upstate New York and toured the Carrier Dome, the Orangemenâ€™s famous indoor stadium.
MacPhail said he ultimately chose Syracuse over Boise State and Elon University (North Carolina).
â€œIâ€™m looking forward to getting to Syracuse, meeting the team, being part of the program, and competing in the ACC,â€ said MacPhail.
Interestingly, one of Lukeâ€™s football teammates at Syracuse will be wide receiver Jacob Bongiovi, son of singer Jon Bon Jovi.
MacPhail said his academic and athletic experience at Dexter was awesome.
â€œItâ€™s been one of the best experiences of my life,â€ said MacPhail. â€œIâ€™m so grateful to Coach [Casey] Day to be part of such an outstanding program. Heâ€™s taught me to a better player and better man. Itâ€™s been a great ride. Iâ€™ve going to miss playing football with my friends.â€
MacPhail credited his offensive line and his wide receivers for the teamâ€™s success.
â€œI had five Division 1 linemen in front of me this season,â€ said MacPhail. â€œThey were the biggest line in the state. And my receivers were tremendous. Theyâ€™ll be playing football in college as well.â€
MacPhail had an interesting job last summer, working with the equipment staff for the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium.
â€œI was very fortunate to have an experience working with the Patriots,â€ said MacPhail. â€œI saw how hard that professional athletes work and prepare for their seasons.â€
Football Beginnings in Winthrop
It is a story of diligence and dedication that began on the fields of Winthrop where Luke MacPhail would be seen often tossing the football.
One well-known athlete helping Luke develop his promising talents was Anthony Fucillo, one of Winthrop Highâ€™s greatest quarterbacks who went on to play college football at Colgate and Tufts and is now an assistant coach at Harvard.
â€œAnthony was my first quarterback coach,â€ recalled MacPhail. â€œHe would take me down to Miller Field and put me through workouts. Iâ€™m so grateful to him. And I used to go to Anthonyâ€™s games when I was younger.â€
MacPhail made his debut at quarterback for the Winthrop Youth football third-and-fourth-grade team.
â€œI loved playing in Winthrop â€“ it was my hometown and I was able to spend time with my family,â€ said MacPhail. â€œI love the beach and running Deer Island for workouts.â€
But Luke, whose father, John, and uncle, Warren, were outstanding athletes themselves in high school, was just getting started in his football career. After gaining notice as a rising youth football quarterback, Luke eventually chose Dexter Suffield School.
Strong performances at such major showcases as the Manning (yes, Peyton, Eli, and Archie) Passing Camp in Louisiana helped advance MacPhailâ€™s stature as a national-caliber quarterback who could play at the highest level of college football.
Dexter Coach Casey Day feels that Luke will be an impact player at the collegiate level. He said his improvement year-to-year has been phenomenal
â€œLuke came in as a 6-2, 170-pound freshman with a big arm and heâ€™s graduating as a 6-4, 220-pound kid that can run a 4.7 and make the throws that everyone can make on Saturdays and Sundays,â€ said Day. â€œI think it was pretty evident from Day 1 that Luke could play college football. He has the physical presence, the talent and high football IQ â€“ but he also had an elite work ethic. He loves football and he loves to work hard.â€
The Dexter coach said Luke will excel in major college football.
â€œI think thatâ€™s the level of play where he belongs and heâ€™s going to compete hard for the starting quarterback position at Syracuse and excel,â€ said Day.
Reflecting on MacPhailâ€™s contributions to the Dexter program, Day said, â€œLuke was a big part of a senior class that really turned the page in our program. They learned how to practice hard every day and get after it. We let Luke rip it (throw the ball) from the beginning, but in his first two years he was running for the life. We had one of the best offensive lines in New England the past two years and he was able to sit in the pocket and allow his talent and the receiversâ€™ talent do their thing.â€
MacPhail thanked his parents (John and Lisa) for their support.
â€œI love them so much â€“ they taught me the world, how to become a better person making smart decision and being independent,â€ said MacPhail.
Luke lives in Newton with his father, John, and stepmother, Eleana. His mother, Lisa, and grandmother, Nancy Paulson, live in Winthrop. Luke has two sisters, Jessica and Natalia, who are also outstanding student-athletes at Dexter Southfield School.