Two separate moments during Marco DelVecchio’s career at Bishop Hendricken helped elevate him to one of the top defensive players in the state.
They both came last season, during his junior year. The first was a decision – made mutually by DelVecchio and the coaching staff – to switch from the quarterback position to other spots on the field.
DelVecchio had played quarterback on the freshman team and also for the junior varsity team, but with a slew of talented players already in line for the quarterback job going forward, DelVecchio was going to have to get on the field another way.
“He came in and he had every goal of being the quarterback at Bishop Hendricken,” Croft said. “We saw him throw and we said, ‘This might not work.’ To his credit, he just worked so hard to be a linebacker and a safety and a tight end. He’s done everything for us.”
He put on weight, worked on his speed and focused on embracing his new role.
Then the second moment happened. With Hendricken’s defense having a few problems as last season wore on, Croft decided to give DelVecchio his first start in a rain-soaked game against Portsmouth with playoff ramifications.
Needless to say, it paid off.
“He had a great game against Portsmouth in a monsoon,” Croft said. “And the rest is history.”
DelVecchio remembers it too. Most of it anyway.
“I was just going off,” DelVecchio said. “I believe I had five sacks, probably 20 tackles. I blacked out halfway through the game and I was just tackling people left and right. It was a close game, it was in the mud – terrible weather. I was only a junior, so I had to step it up that game, and I did.”
Since that point, DelVecchio, now a senior, has emerged as the leader of one of the best defenses in the state. Hendricken allowed only 107 points this season in league games, tops in Division I.
DelVecchio wasn’t necessarily a natural star from day one, but hard work more than anything else has seen DelVecchio grow into his role for the Hawks. He currently leads the team with 72 solo tackles and 112 total. The next closest tackler is defensive tackle Mario McClain with 40 solo and 59 total.
“There’s a difference between talent and skill,” DelVecchio said. “Talent, you’re born with it. Skill is just hours and hours of working on your craft. I believe that hard work beats that talent when that talent isn’t working hard.”
DelVecchio has also helped out the offense from the fullback and tight end spots, and he’s had two receiving touchdowns so far this season.
Now, as his high school career is winding down, DelVecchio is focused on going out in style. He wants to lead Hendricken to its third consecutive Super Bowl championship.
“He has a lot of pride wearing these gold helmets,” Croft said. “Hendricken football means a lot to him. He’s just been a great leader.”
After that, there’s more football on tap. He’s been named to the USA under-19 International Bowl team, and will play that game early next year.
Then it’s college, as DelVecchio has gone from mid-season stop-gap at linebacker to coveted college recruit for a variety of programs at different levels.
He projects as a safety, and has drawn interest from schools such as Holy Cross, Brown, Penn State, Elon University, the University of San Diego and Illinois, among others.
It makes sense, given how he has capitalized on his chances, and how much time, effort, position-changing, and hard work has gone in to making him one of Rhode Island’s premier defensive players.
“He’s worked so hard,” Croft said. “He’s worked so hard since his freshman year. He’s the type of kid that you hope these younger guys emulate.”