By Terence Clarey
For two members of the 2012 Somerville High School Football team, the next chapter in their life is just beginning and both are taking steps to make sure their futures fulfill their present promise. Senior Lineman Ryan Conte will be moving on to graduation and Junior Quarterback Phoenix Huertas is looking to expand his considerable gridiron repertoire.
Although the 1-8, 2012 season wasn’t the happiest for either player, both were standouts at their positions. Ryan Conte, played both offensive and defensive tackle this season and as Co-Captain was a leader who helped keep the team together in the midst of adversity, and Huertas was a star quarterback who put up dazzling numbers.
Conte, who was named a Greater Boston League All-star for his second consecutive season, named to the Massachusetts State Coaches Association, and has also been nominated to play in the Shriners All-Star game in June, is mulling several options this spring. He was recently offered a football scholarship to attend Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, which he will visit later this month. He has also garnered interest from several other colleges including West Point, Harvard, Lafayette, Penn, and UNH, which he will visit in February. Conte is also considering attending prep school at Worcester, Exeter or Andover to bolster his academic and athletic credentials for college.
Somerville Head Coach Tony Gulla will be hard pressed to replace Conte next season. “I wish I could have Ryan back for one more year,” he said in an e-mail. “But he left the team, and especially his offensive line mates, a blueprint for what hard work, dedication and commitment can accomplish.”
For his part, Quarterback Phoenix Huertas looks to further improve on a stellar 2012 season in which he passed for 2127 yards, ran for 1089 and completed 57 percent of his passes. Next year as a Quarterback and senior leader, he will have even more pressure on his shoulders. So recently he attended the National Football Academies off-season Quarterback Development Camp in Orlando, run by Darin Slack, who has trained 18,000 high school players from all over the country in quarterback fundamentals. At the camp, Huertas was nominated as national finalist to participate with a select few in The “Duel of the Dozens,” a National Competition held every July at Paul Brown Stadium in Ohio. With this experience, Huertas hopes to go into this senior year with a full set of tools.
Huertas’ commitment doesn’t end there, said Gulla. “Phoenix will be counted on to be a leader of our team next year; he has already begun that process by taking a strong leadership role in the off-season conditioning program Coach Fenton has put in place for our athletes.”
So 2013 is beginning well for both Ryan Conte and Phoenix Huertas as they take the next step in their academic and athletic lives, and face new challenges. Both have created futures that are looking very bright.