Not many people get to continue playing a sport beyond the high school
level, but Stoneham’s Joe McLaughlin did just that, playing at the
highest level, the National Football League.
The 1975 Stoneham High School
graduate also played hockey, track and wrestled in his three-year
Spartan stint, but it was on the football field that McLaughlin’s
physical abilities and leadership qualities shone their brightest.
As captain of the football team,
McLaughlin played fullback and linebacker, being named a Middlesex
League All-Star and Boston Globe All-Scholastic his senior year.
“Joe was arguably the best
linebacker we ever had,” said his former football coach, Bob Margarita.
“He had great speed and he had a great sense of intuition. He seemed to
just know where the play was going to be and then just met it at the
crossroads. He had great leadership qualities and he was a good “team
man” and was well-liked by his teammates.”
Having been moved to tight end
at the beginning of his senior season, McLaughlin returned to play
fullback against Watertown and racked up 160 yards to go along with
three touchdowns. Ever the dominant defensive player, McLaughlin
blocked two punts against Lexington.