By Michelle Fenelon, Special to the Independent
When Marcus Romboli lined up against now former Milton quarterback Jake Wilcox in the Super Bowl, his life came full circle.
Six years prior, Romboli and Wilcox played together on the Crimson Tide Pop Warner team – one of the most-dominant and arguably, the most-talented pop warner team to win a National Championship. Led by Mike Sainristil, who is a receiver at Michigan and Lewis Cine, who is a projected starter for the Georgia Bulldogs, that year the A-team secured the National championship after a 17-0 season – a season where no one was able to score on them until the playoffs.
Now, Romboli will ship off to play for Central Michigan after rejecting every Ivy League School offer.
“He said ‘mom, I gave you straight A’s – I’m going to (Central Michigan),” his mother and Everett City Hall employee, Andrea Romboli recalled.
The facilities, coaching staff, and legendary coach Jim McElwain, who transformed the program after a dismal one-win season in 2018, impressed the Rombolis.
“I was worried about him going to Central Michigan until I met the coaching staff,” Romboli said.
The 245-pound, 6’3” Defensive End refers to himself as an “Everett kid,” but his road to one of the top up-and-coming programs in the Mid-American Conference weaved in and out of the confinements of the city.
After one year on the Everett varsity team, Romboli transferred to Malden Catholic before he reclassed to play at Deerfield Academy. There, Romboli developed into one of the most-feared defensive players in prep football. Modeling his game after Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, Romboli used his hands and his quickness to beat offensive lineman off the line.
He learned the ins and outs of O-linemen after having to play the position in his first year at Deerfield. “It was pretty tough [to switch positions],” Romboli said. But Romboli stuck with it, and played on both sides of the ball his senior year.
After 14 days of quarantining, Romboli will leave Everett to begin training camp at Central Michigan, leaving behind his greatest motivator – his mother, Andrea.
It was Andrea’s father, John, who first put a football in Romboli’s hand when he was just six years old. He always heard the stories about the long lineage of family members who played football: His grandfather holds the record for the longest punt in Everett High history at 76 yards, his great grandfather Louis played, his great uncle Al excelled on the football field and his great uncle Rudy played for the Boston Yanks.
Hearing the stories were important. “I felt like I needed to play [football], Romboli said. “Now, I play it because I want to.”
His dream isn’t just to dominated in college – it’s to follow in his great uncle, Rudy’s, footsteps and play in the NFL.
“It’s the only dream,” Romboli said.