By Chris Villani
Blackstone Valley Tech graduate John Furno capped off a stellar career with the Beavers’ football program by being named the defensive player of the year for football during the Central Mass. High School Sports Awards.
Part of the USA Today High School Sports Awards program, the largest high school sports recognition program in the country, the ceremony for Central Mass. athletes took place in Worcester in June.
“It was wonderful, just getting nominated for it was amazing,” Furno said. “I was supposed to win. I was going up against some great players from around Central Mass. and I was blown away when I won.”
Furno earned the recognition by anchoring a BVT defense that helped the team finish 7-3 and advance to the state semifinals in Division VI. The 6’4”, 250lb defensive lineman finished his senior season with 68.5 tackles, five sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and an interception that he returned for a touchdown.
Furno called the experience “amazing” and had the chance to meet Charlie Coyle of the Boston Bruins, who was a guest speaker at the event.
The accolades did not end there for the Franklin Pierce-bound Furno, who was also named the defensive MVP for the south squad in the Central Mass. all-star game after registering 10 tackles and two sacks in the showcase.
“It was a great final sendoff for my high school career, playing against people I had played against in high school and coming together with other towns that we would not normally hang out with,” he said.
Furno is slated to begin summer classes at the New Hampshire college in July and will also start training for the fall football season and taking his game to the Division II collegiate level. He said the coaching staff has told him he will have the chance to earn some playing time during his freshman season and Furno said he plans to study either criminal justice or emergency management.
He also has a long list of areas of his game that he wants to strengthen to compete, including improving speed, skills, and both his physical and mental strength.
Having been part of a perennial playoff program at Valley Tech has him ready for college football, he said.
“Playing at BVT in front of a good amount of people did prepare me, the noise, the crowd, the cheers, the boos, the people that don’t like us, that’s all going to help me in college because I know it gets tougher with bigger crowds,” Furno said. “I know I am ready for it.”
Pictured is John Furno (RIGHT) who was named Defensive Player of the Year during the Central Mass. High School Sports Awards. He will be playing football at Franklin Pierce University in the fall. (Contributed photo)