Remembering Revere’s Golden Days of Sports

The May 2nd edition of the Revere Journal under its fascinating ‘Through the Years’ section featured a picture of two football players kneeling in front of our coaches and the fathers of the seniors of our 1963-64 Revere High School (RHS) football team taken at the old Paul Revere Stadium.

In that photo, I am # 50, the co-captain of that team, and I’m pictured with # 20 Bill McCarthy.

That was 49 years ago. A magical time.

The other 18 seniors – and many of their fathers, including mine – pictured were: Steve Fedora, Joe Sennewald, William Butler, Joe Lavalle, Joe Stasio, Richard Shute, John Thompson, Ross Spagnolo, John Fox, Joe Principato, Bill McCarthy, William Epstein, Charles Guarino, Lou Tasso, Jim Jouve, Bob Misiano, Mike Picariello, and Mike Bloom.

Coach Silvio Cella was my uncle. He was Athletic Director and stepped up to return to RHS as head football coach. Our Thanksgiving game drew thousands of fans, lining the field, filling the bleachers. It was a community event, a very big deal for the city. The seniors on this team dedicated themselves to an undefeated season.

Accompanying this article is a photo taken that same year, with the senior players and our mothers, taken on Thanksgiving Day 1963. The core values we learned during these years are the richest legacy we baby boomers can pass along to our children and grandchildren.

On that cold Thanksgiving day, after our mothers left the sidelines with proud smiles and a corsage, a group of young men led by a dynamic high school coach played for their hometown. We pummeled our archrival, St. Mary’s of Lynn, by a score of 33-8.

We played rivals like Chelsea, Lynn English and Lynn Classical at Manning Bowl as well as Somerville, New Bedford, Leominster and Stoughton. In 1963, we beat them all but for a fumble in the closing minutes, losing to New Bedford in 16 – 14 loss, a crushing blow since this team was a Class A team at the time, and we were in the Class B league. Those of us who played will never forget that Thanksgiving Day football game.

And, we will never forget our football coach, Silvio Cella, who taught us life lessons that, to this day, help chart our course each and every day. Silvio was a standout at RHS, going on to become a two-way starter and an All-American at Boston University. He also served as a decorated Marine. Silvio returned to Revere and made countless contributions to high school football and student-athletes during his 49 years as athletic director and head football coach. He coached two undefeated teams (1964 and 1973), won five Greater Boston League championships and, in 1973, his RHS Patriots played in Super Bowl II. Coach Cella had great pride in his city, his players and his family. He was the first one to volunteer his time to support a local cause or to lend a hand.

With his passing in 2010, his family established the Silvio Cella Family Foundation, to honor Coach Cella’s legacy, to help give high school football programs the support needed to be successful on the field and to prepare young men for college, careers and family. In just the past two years, the Silvio Cella Family Foundation has donated nearly $25,000 to high schools throughout Massachusetts, including special donations to RHS football.

On July 23, we will host our 3rd Annual Silvio Cella Family Foundation Golf Tournament at Ferncroft Country Club. It’s a great day of golf but, more importantly, it’s a day to pay tribute to the important role high school football can have on young athletes. We also remember Coach Cella and help the Foundation make a difference for thousands of young athletes across the state.

I still cherish my friendships with the legendary “Fearsome Fivesome” offensive line, comprised of Bob Misiano, Mike Bloom, Jim Jouve, Mike Picariello and myself. We still believe, as we age together, that we were “indisputably” the best offensive line in the history of RHS. We often told our quarterback Jim DelGazio, a former NFL quarterback who I snapped the ball to on every play as center, that we helped launch his NFL career and that we were the best things that ever happened to him.

A few weeks ago I was visiting a client in Revere and stopped to talk with a group of younger guys to ask directions. They told me they went to RHS in the 1980s, and I told them I had played high school football with the ‘Fearsome Fivesome.’ It was a great moment for me when they said they had heard of the legends!

In the 1960s, those of us who wanted to play “ball” were a crazy bunch that suffered through punishing double sessions, leather helmets with no thoughts of concussion-proof standards. Old -fashioned sweat, blood, and tears led by a fearless Marine and our leader, Silvio Cella, along with his assistant coaches who also were also our classroom teachers, Ed Manganiello and Justin Capodilupo and my freshman coach Rocky Malfitano, who later became Superintendent of Schools. All to this day are classy, intelligent gentlemen.

I had the privilege of competing against some of the great ones that came out of RHS, including Paul Lavagna, our former City Clerk John Henry, John “Red” Paladino, Chuckie Beatrice, and talented athletes like Billy Cataldo, Harold Page and the Lanza brothers, and my all-time nemesis, Paul Caputo.

Us old guys look back at these moments in time and reflect on what it meant to grow up in a city like Revere with its profound sense of pride, commitment and loyalty.

Tradition never graduates and the fact that our football pictures still appear in our local community newspaper 49 years later evokes such prideful memories of a place and time that only those of us who grew up in Revere can fully appreciate.

These were the times when loyalty, commitment, hard work, and pride of city were the hallmarks of family values.  My father would have been 94 if still alive today. He was president of his senior class at RHS. And, on Mother’s Day, I reflected on the values my mother instilled in me growing up in Revere.

For me, being “born and raised in Revere” is a proudful statement. My son, Matthew, who is a partner at a Boston law firm, and his wife and their two children now own and live in my parents’ house in Beachmont. It’s a great feeling to have another generation growing up in Revere.

Revere is all about who you grew up with, the relationships formed, loyalty is what measures character. Mental toughness is not being a phony. I think of all the tremendous athletes and people of all different professions and walks of life I have had the privilege to know  – all born and raised in Revere – that I played football with, including Billy Cintolo, Alan Drover, Vic Mancini, John Stasio, John Searle, John DelGazio and Steve Sabbag (who I knew so well and were great athletes and warriors).

I’m also proud to be on the board of directors of the Silvio Cella Family Foundation, along with Coach Cella’s son, Michael, and his wife, Pam (Corbett), and his daughter, Gina, my wife Lee (Connolly), and the former RHS Athletic Director Bob Lospannato — all RHS grads who were born and raised in Revere.  I urge anyone connected to Revere sports, especially football, or interested in remembering a worthwhile legacy to visit our web site at or contact Gina at [email protected] The Foundation has done tremendous work to support high school football and is keeping the tradition, the memory alive.

I thank The Revere Journal for stimulating fond memories of growing up in Revere and urge each of us – whether we played for Coach Cella, cheered the RHS Patriots or simply appreciate the value of high school athletics – can come together and support the Silvio Cella Family Foundation and make the statement that we’re proud to be born and raised in such a great city. We all should unite some day to share the glory days and rekindle wonderful friendships for the future.

*Alex L. Moschella (RHS `64) is an elder law attorney and partner at Moschella & Winston, LLP in Somerville. Alex has represented many Revere families in asset protection and long-term care planning matters. He is a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and a board member of the MA/NH Alzheimer’s Association and has served as an adjunct faculty member at Suffolk University Law School for over 20 years where he teaches elder law.  Alex may be reached at [email protected] or 617‑776‑3300 and welcomes contact from anyone who was” born and raised in Revere,” and has an interest in this article.

7 comments for “Remembering Revere’s Golden Days of Sports

  1. Michaelebloom
    June 28, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Alex thanks for a great article and bringing back such wonderful memories. Oh and we are all still connected by what we did 49 years ago. Mike Bloom

  2. Mike Petrilli
    June 28, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    I am a survior of the… Walk to Whelan in full gear for practice, double session, salt tablet, “You don’t Want it Son” team of 6T8. I love what Coach Cella stood for and instilled in us to work and press on! That attitude is still and always be with me.   RHS has always produced the best student-athletes and coaches. Thanks for giving me a opportunity to “Bust me A$$” with a class organization.

  3. Mike A Cella
    June 29, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Well Alex, you certainly hit the nail on the head. Athletics, especially football, brings young, innocent athletes together in such a way that most other sports can’t. As I always said to my teams that I have coached, ” you might not remember who you sat next to in a math class but you will always remember who you played with on the football field. The Silvio Cella Faimly Foundatiom strives to achieve goals my father set well over 70 years ago. His players and teams will most certainly remember and use those values. I played for my father back in 1965 – 67, and coached with him from 74 – 83. To this day I am still friendly and close to almost all my graduating football class mates. We would love to see some of the old teams that have played, to show up, golf or just come for dinner after the golf. It would be great to get together and talk about the old days and throw out some of the old “coach Cella” stories. Thanks Alex for a short trip down memory lane. Great article and great work being done on the foundation.

  4. Steve Merullo
    March 4, 2013 at 12:53 am

    Valhalla!! Revere 6. Winthrop 0! Class A Champs! Tank Adamson big gun for Winthrop, 0 points. Bill Cintolo touchdown won it. We can never forget that one!
    9-0 Here we go! Never forget the words of Coach Silvio “Valhalla, 9-0, here we go. My thanks and gratitude goes out to Coach Silvio Cella, who shall always be remembered as a Great Friend and Master of the Sport, and Coaches Ed Manganiello and Justin Capodilupo for not only being the best coaches ever, but for caring about us personally, like sons. These Great Men saved a lot of lives that could have gone astray if it wasn’t for your love for the game, but more important, the Love and dedication You’ve shown us guys in the early stages of our lives! I believe that those lessons on life helped to shape us to who we are today! You’ve taught us how to go on in disappointments and trials, (like the 9-0 season our enemies tried to deny us because of an obscure infraction of a rule that disqualified a player for playing an extra semester). The person who was responsible in digging up this questionable infraction was the coach who’s team ended up with the championship. But the associated press considered us the real deal, and Honored us as the real “Class A Champs! I’ll never forget being in the locker room before the title game with Winthrop on Thanksgiving day, 1965, and told we were robbed of our 8 consecutive wins, and the game that day with Winthrop was no longer for an undefeated season, and the State Championship. There wasn’t a dry eye in that room, But that day we became real men and bonded together to defeat Winthrop 6-0 in one of the best games that has ever been played at the old “Paul Revere Stadium”. Thank you Coaches for getting us through one of the hardest trials of our young lives. I could never forget the Love that flowed from your hearts to ours!

    Forever Grateful,

    Steve Merullo #63
    Offensive Guard & Outside Linebacker, 1964-1966

  5. stephen sabbag
    May 2, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    alex you forgot the toy monster #54 who use to beat on the fab five daily. my best steve s

  6. Michael Haggerty
    October 14, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    Hey, I hate to rain on your parade but you went 0-9 in 1964 and don’t give me any crap about obscure infractions. You had a great team but you used an ineligible player all season. You, not your enemies, did yourselves in. Funny, nobody mentions the ineligible kid in this article even though he was a major contributor to you winning until you were caught.

  7. Steve Merullo
    October 29, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    Why no mention of the 1965 season when boys became men in the locker room at the old Harry Della Russo Stadium before the Thanksgiving day game when our Late Great Head Coach, Silvio Cella had to tell us, with tears streaming down His face, that we forfeited all our games, and instead of being, 7-0-1, and Playing for the Class A Championship Game against Winthrop, we were now 0-8-0. There wasn’t a dry eye in that locker room. We were in shock and unbelief. And the Game we were about to play was not for the Championship anymore, but for integrity, for all the players Who gave all they had, late night practices with the car headlights on, and for all the hard work that brought us to this game, undefeated. For our Great Head Coach, Silvio Cella, and all our Coaches who dedicated their time, energy, and their lives to get us to this Championship Game, for our great running back, and teammate who was unjustified to be disqualified from this game, and had to watch sitting on the bench feeling responsible for the losses when He wasn’t responsible at all! And for our Fantastic, Loyal Dedicated Fans who filled the Stadium to a record breaking “Standing Room Capacity!” The Stadium was so packed that they had to lock the gates so no one would get trampled on. A rival coach, who once coached in Revere, and was now coach of a rival team, had a shot for the Championship. We would have had to forfeit some games, and lose to Winthrop for his team to win the Championship. so he dug up 4 years of information on RHS football to try to find any infraction in the rules. He noticed that one of our seniors was in High School one semester longer than normal. So he took a shot in the dark and wrote a complaint letter to the Board of High School Athletics. And somehow, they came up with this ruling, that nobody ever heard of, or was aware of. Playing one semester too many! To this day I believe that coach had a friend on the Board. That is only my opinion. anyways, after the shock in the locker room, and the tears dried up, we knew we had a game to play. And win, for so many people! We played our hearts out! I remember, as outside linebacker, Coach Silvio told me during practice the whole 2 weeks before the game that “Tank” Adamson was their high scorer, and one of the high scoring players in the State. and He was my man to cover! Talk about being nervous! We actually had his name on one of the bags we hit during practice! Well, it was time for us to leave the locker room and head out to the field. I will never forget looking up into the stands and seeing wall to wall people. And the cheers were so loud I didn’t know how we would hear the “count” from Jimmy DelGaizo, our Quarterback. Well, the Good Lord was with us that Thanksgiving Day Game, ( many people believe, it was the High School “Game of the Century”). The whole team and myself played the best game of our lives. And I didn’t faint before the game started. I believe it was the most important High School Football game of my life. and I know my Teammates felt the same way. Not because the win would make us the official “Champs”, but to prove to ourselves, our coaches, our fans, and to all athletes everywhere,(both young and old), that it’s not always the score that makes us winners, but it’s not quitting, no matter how unfair you’ve been treated, that makes you the real WINNER! Thank You Coach Silvio, I know you are in Heaven reading this. Thank You for all the lesions in life you have taught me and thousands of other athletes, and for Your Friendship! Someday we will be with you in Heaven, laughing and talking about all these good memories. and thank you my Coaches and Friends, Ed Manganiello, Justin Capodilupo,and Archie Malice. Also Bernie Socket, All our Fans and Friends, All my teammates, And My Hometown, The Great, Revere, Massachusetts!

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