By LORENZO RECUPERO
Crimson Tide senior captain Joe Murillo has spent the last four years committed to improving his game to help boost Everett High School’s offensive line to elite status.
At 6-foot-4, 300 pounds the left tackle, a starter for the first time in his career, has done so this season while earning the respect of his coaches and peers.
Behind the strength of Murillo and the offensive line, the Crimson Tide remained undefeated (5-0) while posting 18 touchdowns on the ground in just five games.
“His greatest quality is being a great kid who is coachable and has a team-first mentality,” said EHS Assistant Coach Ross Pietrantonio.
Head Coach Robert DiLoreto echoed the sentiment.
“We are very proud of Joe’s outstanding leadership this year. He has been a huge factor in our run, pass, and blocking game,” said DiLoreto, who has engineered an offense that is averaging nearly 200 rushing yards per game.
And after suffering a torn MCL forcing him to miss all of last season, “Big Joe”, as he is called by his teammates, has done so much to work himself and the Tide up to where they are today.
In the Tide’s latest 37-11 win over Revere, running back JC Clerveaux pumped out 5 touchdowns on the ground, a testament to the production of the offensive line.
“It was a long recovery, but I’m much better now,” said Murillo, undergoing months of squat training and extensive stretching exercises to rebuild the strength in his knee. Behind an incredible work ethic and drive to play football – the only team sport he’s participated in – he was back up and running just four months after knee surgery.
“After all of it, I looked at things differently,” said Murillo, noting how his rehab had changed his outlook on football. “I looked at things differently after. When you’re not hurt, sometimes you don’t realize how you have it. I learned to not take things for granted and thankfully here I am still playing football,” he said.
Good for a pancake (the term used to describe a block that leaves a defensive player flat on his back as the running back burst through the hole created) or two per game, Murillo considers himself the ‘organizer’ of the offensive line.
“I help my fellow lineman with tips, call them out when needed, and call meetings on Sundays so we can get better as a group so we can do our jobs on game day,” said Murillo on what he feels he brings to the Tide.
“I consider myself a leader, one that hypes up his teammates and helps them where I can so we can become an elite team and make a run at the championship.”
“Joe has worked extremely hard to recover from his knee injury and we are so proud of his effort this year,” said DiLoreto. “He is an extremely positive teammate. He is always encouraging his teammates to do better and he is a very strong leader of our team.”
Born in Tela, Honduras Murillo and his family immigrated here when he was 7 and he’s lived in Everett since. An honor roll student, Murillo is still undecided on where he would like to attend college but does have plans for post-high school learning. His focus now is on engineering and art. He is currently working on his own signage in a robotics class and spends his free time outside of school drawing some of his favorite characters, including those from the ever-popular anime genre of television.
“I love drawing, it takes my mind off things. I love drawing nature and DragonBall characters,” he said.
As for robotics, he makes sure to apply the same ethic he does on the football field in the classroom.
“I’m ahead of the class. I keep going until the class ends and when we are finished everyone is through with lesson one and I’m al- ready working on my own through lesson 2,” he said.
When his final game on the line for the Crimson Tide has come and gone, Murillo hopes to be remembered for just one thing.
“I want to be remembered as a great leader, someone who stepped up when others could not, someone people could look up to, especially the offensive lineman,” said Murillo.
You can catch Murillo and the undefeated Crimson Tide on Friday against Medford at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 PM.