Hard to miss, BG lineman Colantuoni will miss football after CHaD Game

Staff photo by TOM KING Former Bishop Guertin lineman Sam Colantuoni, who says Saturday's CHaD All-Star Game will be his football finale, still stands out among the crowd on the field.

MANCHESTER – Coaches look at him and immediately try to figure out a way to get him on their side.

After all, at 6-foot-3, 295 pounds, former Bishop Guertin lineman Sam Colantuoni, well, stands out.

But whatever recruiting pitch college coaches may have given him, it hasn’t worked. Colantuoni, you see, has suffered with pain that has given him no gain.

Thus he declares Saturday’s CHaD East-West All Star Football Game at the University of New Hampshire will most likely be his final game ever.

“I decided not to follow up with any of my football plans,” Colantuoni said. “I messed up my back pretty bad (playing football). Also my knee my senior year. So I decided just to focus on my academics in college.

“This is my last game.”

He’s resisted the urge to give in as people keep telling him he should continue to play.

“I get that a lot,” the New Ipswich native said. “But right now, where I am, I decided to focus on my academics. There’s a chance in college that could change.”

It wasn’t an easy decision, to be sure, made about two or three months ago. Colantuoni went through the recruiting process, attended a lot of college events a year ago. But at the end of his senior season at BG, he said enough was enough. The injuries just weren’t worth it.

“It was hard, but I knew it was the right decision,” he said. “But as far as my health goes, that’s what it came down to – my health.”

The injury woes began for Colantuoni his sophomore year, when he fractured a vertebrae in his back.

“That took a toll on my my junior year,” he said. “Football’s been in my life the last four years. It’s going to be tough.”

Tough for coaches to see him call it quits, too. “Huge, I know (it’s his last game),” West coach Eric Brown of Concord said. “He’s a big boy. Hopefully he’s going to go out on a high note.”

Colantuoni knows what it takes to be a good lineman besides health. “Discipline, and size comes in handy,” he said. “Since about eighth grade, I got the benefit.”

The irony is that Colantuoni’s last game will be played at the school he’s going to be attending, studying analytical economics – the University of New Hampshire.

The Wildcats did recruit him, but, as Colantuoni said, “I had to make a decision.”

He still has some pain in his leg related to his injury woes, but Colantuoni said he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play in the CHaD game and go through the week of practice leading up to it.

“It’s my last week of football,” he said, “like in my life. I can do it. It’s going to be tough, but I want to play with everybody here. I want to be on an All-Star team.”

He got his wish.

His football decision is likely easier than it would normally be for others because Colantuoni hasn’t been a lifer with regard to the game. He didn’t start playing unil his freshman year at BG.

“I played varsity my freshman year,” Colantuoni said. “It was a good time.”

Last year was tough for Colantuoni and the Cardinals. Not only did he suffer a knee injury, but his team won just one game and a few players – some of whom feared injury – opted to not come out or stay with the team toward end of preseason.

“I think it sometimes comes down to the personal perspective you take of it,” Colantuoni said. “My friends, they had too many concussions and (injuries). I didn’t have any concussions. It’s all your point of view.”

Colantuoni says his future view from the sideline makes Saturday all that more special.

“People from my school have been here,” Colantuoni said. “But at the end of the day, it’s all for the kids. We’re here to raise money.”

And, in his case, say good-bye to a game he enjoyed. But with his size, if that game pursues him again, he’ll be hard to miss.