ANDOVER — Jerry Stabiles only come along every so often.
He was a rare combination of size (6-0, 195 pounds), strength (threw the shot put 53-9), speed (hurdler/sprinter in track), toughness and brains (won BC football’s prestigious Scanlan scholar-athlete award).
With Stabile, a ferocious linebacker, Andover’s first-team defense in 1976 gave up just three touchdowns all season en route to winning its second straight EMass. Division 2 Super Bowl.
“He was all over the field, both on offense and defense,” said Tom Coffey, a fellow starting linebacker. “When Jerry hit you, it hurt. He was fast, tough and had a mean streak. He was the definition of a football player.”
Stabile said, “When you are on that field, you have to know you are tougher and better than everyone else. If you truly believe it, you can do whatever you want.”
Stabile made a lot of believers. Of course, 195 pounds back then would be the equivalent of 220 today.
That size and speed combination earned him plenty of suitors. He chose BC over Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Navy and the Ivy Leagues.
There he played (and played right away) with some top-flight talent like Fred Smerlas, Steve DeOssie and his roommmate, Mike Mayock of the NFL Network and ABC Sports.
He played against some top talent, too. His senior year, he faced third-ranked Pitt with Dan Marino and then the next week it was 11th-ranked Stanford with John Elway.
BC nearly pulled the upset against Marino (14-6 loss) then rolled past Stanford 30-13. Stabile was all over the field that day and included an interception on Elway to go with a whopping four pass-breakups and six tackles. The strong safety was named ECAC Player of the Week and earned Eagle-Tribune Performance of the Year honors.
Eagles coach Ed Chlebek said at the time, “Jerry has had two impressive back-to-back games and can play this position as well as anyone. He’s a versatile athlete and adept in both areas of defense.”