Ever since fifth grade, before he even knew whether he wanted to wrestle or play football in college, John Kay (Hingham, MA) has been a force on the field—and a friendly, welcoming presence off it.
On February 4, Mr. Kay committed to football by signing a National Letter of Intent with the University of Maine.
“It’s a phenomenal day for John and I’m just so proud of him,” said Matt Kay, his father, who was at the signing ceremony at the Williston Northampton School. “For John—and maybe a little bit for me—it’s a dream, something he’s worked for since 8th grade.”
Since his son was small, Mr. Kay said he could remember John’s ferocity on the field, describing him as “instinctively hunting running backs down like a predator.” This year, even when the varsity football team was down by four touchdowns in a season finale bowl game against Lawrence Academy, John Kay fought through the line to block an extra point at the end of the first half.
“To me that just sums him up,” Mr. Kay later recalled. He later added via email that “the fact that they came back to take a 28-27 lead in the third quarter of that bowl game made it one of the most impressive games that I’ve ever seen.”
The younger Kay said that he formed deep bonds with his teammates and Head Coach Mark Conroy over the course of the season and will look to forge similar ties at the University of Maine.
“I love the team and I love playing under Coach Conroy,” Mr. Kay said. “He knows how to bring a team together.”
Mr. Kay, who was a state champion wrestler for Hingham High School, finished his season at Williston as Colonial League Player of the Year (lineman), NEPSAC Class B Defensive Player of the Year, with All New England prep and First Team All Colonial League honors. He will be joining the Division 1 FCS Maine Bears, which had a 5-6 record last year (4-4 in Colonial Athletic Association).
Mr. Kay said he had chosen Maine for its coaching staff, campus, and team atmosphere, describing the Black Bears as an up-and-coming team with an emphasis on the defensive line.
“I definitely love the school. It’s all about the defense. They call it the ‘black hole,’” Mr. Kay said with a grin. “That was the extra factor that brought me to Maine, to be part of that black hole, part of that defense.”