By Cary Shuman
Everett High School football coach John DiBiaso calls Helber Fagundes the “Hub of the Offensive Line,” which is a big compliment for the 6-foot-5-inch, 300-pound senior left tackle and captain.
Fagundes traveled a long way to earn such hefty praise from the legendary Crimson Tide coach. Fagundes was born in Brazil and came to Everett with his family six years ago.
“I played a little soccer in Brazil and I never really thought about playing football and I never realized how popular a sport football is [in the United States],” said Fagundes. “I was in eighth grade when my brother, Thalliz, brought me to Sacramone Park for Pop Warner. He introduced me to the coaches and that’s when I became interested in football.”
Fagundes started one varsity game as a freshman and has been a staple on the Crimson Tide’s offensive line ever since.
Offensive line coach Mike Milo is a believer in Fagundes’s skill set.
“Helber gets bigger and bigger every year and he’s a great player,” said Milo. “He’s the captain of the line and tells everybody what they’re doing.”
According to Milo, Fagundes has done his job very well as a run and pass blocker while teaming up with left guard Josh Riggs, center Brian Velez, right guard Wilson Frederic, right tackle Gilbert Kabamba, and tight end Jalen Smith.
These guys get after it and they’re giving Jake [Willcox] great pass protection,” said Milo. “It’s going to be a really good line. There’s still a lot to learn.”
Wilcox, who is off to a sensational start as the Everett quarterback, said Fagundes is “a great player.”
“We’re scoring a lot of touchdowns because Helber is protecting the blind side,” said Willcox. “We worked hard in the off season and it’s showed so far.”
Fagundes is grateful to the Everett coaches for teaching him blocking techniques and helping him improve each season.
“[Coach] Milo has taught me a lot and I watch a lot of football,” said Fagundes. “I like Nate Solder a lot and Shaq Mason, too.”
Fagundez said he’s come to understand the Crimson Tide’s football tradition and the success that has been achieved during the John DiBiaso Era. He has one championship ring himself for the 2016 state title.
“Coach [DiBiaso] is amazing. It’s been a blessing coming here to Everett. I wish I had one more year to play again,” he said.
DiBiaso also wishes Fagundes could play in Everett beyond graduation day.
“Helber is just a great kid – the only sad part is he’s leaving after this year,” said DiBiaso. “I wish we had him for four more years. He’s a leader on this team. He has great footwork. He can pass block. He can run block. He’s very intelligent and doesn’t miss assignments.”
Fagundes’s parents and brother have become fans of Everett football. Helber is hoping for another trip to the Super Bowl and an opportunity to play his final high school game on the turf at Gillette Stadium.
“We just have to keep working hard and staying together,” said Fagundes. “Last year, we really came together well after the Billerica game.”
Fagundes is looking toward continuing his career in college football, listing the University of Rhode Island, Louisville, Southern Mississippi, and Texas A & M as possible scholarship opportunities.
“It’s great that we have players like Jason Maitre and Duane Binns, who are going to play in college, and I hope to do that,” said Fagundes. “I never thought I might be playing college football. One thing I know is that I’ll never forget playing for Everett and how the city really supports us.”