Former Saint Thomas Football Captain and NH All-State Offensive Tackle, John Cifrino, has committed to play football at Harvard University next year. A resident of York, Maine, The 6’5” 276 lb Cifrino transferred to Phillips Academy in Andover MA, and repeated his junior year after the Saints undefeated (11-0) championship run in 2011. He is the current Football Captain of the Phillips Big Blue team, which just completed a perfect 9-0 season, winning the NEPSAC Prep A Championship.
“Two undefeated Championship seasons in three years has been pretty sweet. I am fortunate to have played with a lot of great football players at both schools.”
Cifrino was recruited by many national universities as well as every Ivy League school. Ultimately, he passed on athletic scholarship offers from multiple Division One schools in order to accept the offer from Harvard.
Cifrino credits the Saint Thomas Aquinas football program for instilling him with a passion for the game.
“I may be wearing Crimson in the future but I will always bleed STA blue. Coach (Rod) Wotton, Coach (Eric) Cumba, and Coach (Tom) Neal are true giants of the game. To play for one guy like that would have been a blessing. I was fortunate to play for three. These men didn’t just teach us to play the game. They taught us to honor it, to respect it, and to love every minute of it.”
Cifrino chose Harvard because of its academic reputation along with its winning tradition on the football field.
“Academically Harvard is the best in the world. Athletically, the football program has the fourth highest winning percentage (since 2001) in all of (NCAA) Division One. Winning football games matters a great deal to me. That’s something that was emphasized at Saint Thomas.”
Cifrino says that he is glad, but not surprised to hear of the Saints strong showing this year in the newly constituted NHIAA Division 2.
“Saint Thomas does a great job of attracting guys who want to try a little harder and give a little more to the team. I’ve never known anyone who loves the game more, or works harder at coaching it, than Coach Cumba. I expect that STA will be a force in NH high school football for a long time to come.”