LYNN — You couldn’t draw up a more perfect ending to Agganis week and an athletes’ final high school game than the closing seconds of Friday night’s 57th Agganis All-Star football game at Manning Field.
With seconds left, down by four points, at the opponents’ five yard line the South team found its hopes of pulling out a win in the hands of Lynnfield quarterback Matt Mortellite.
He didn’t disappoint. Rolling right, Mortellite found himself with just enough space to surge for a touchdown on the ground, giving the South team a 28-26 win as time expired.
“I rolled right and I was looking for [Nick] Kinnon (Lynnfield),” Mortellite said. “He was double covered and I just saw a little bit of grass and said ‘hey im diving for it, no one’s stopping me right now.'”
The game-winning touchdown was possible thanks to a well executed drive by the South’s offense in the final minutes of play.
“We really put it together,” Mortellite said, “Vincent Gaskins, Anthony Murphy, Eric DeMayo, Ski Gaston, Tyshawn Anderson, the whole offensive line. It was crazy.”
Earning a win capped off a fun week Mortellite said, who was joined on the South team one last time with his former Lynnfield teammates Nick Kinnon, Jason Ndansi, Anthony Murphy and Cooper Marengi.
“We were talking about the game all week,” Mortellite said. “The coaches were really fun. We were playing one on ones at practice, it was definitely fun.”
Mortellite, who is heading to Saint Lawrence University in New York in the fall, saw his season end with injury this past fall when he suffered a concussion late in the year. However, he says no one should shy away from playing in the Agganis game in the future.
“To the kids next year that get selected definitely play it,” he said. “Don’t worry about injury or anything it’s definitely worth it.”
Agganis Games Executive Director Paul Halloran was also impressed with the talent on display Friday night in the closing minutes.
“I typically don’t see any of it but I just saw the end of it,” Halloran said. “It seemed like a great ending, it would have been a perfect ending on Thursday night too, but it was a beautiful night to play, you couldn’t ask for a better game.”
Halloran and his group of volunteers are the ones to thank for making moments like this possible throughout Agganis week each summer.
“We have a core group that come every year, it’s not a lot of people but they are here every year,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of people but the people we have are very dedicated.
“We’re proud of the fact we’re kind a of the preeminant sports festival for amatuer athletics in the state,” Halloran added. “About 300 players this year in nine games and the majority of them will not be playing college sports so this is a last chance to put on the uniform and play in front of a crowd. We are proud of that.”