Dorchester’s Jack O’Toole is poised for a life of service and adventure, with a commitment to join the Marine Corps on the near horizon. But for now, the Boston Latin High School senior, having just finished his last season with the football team, with three awards to show for it, is enjoying success as a student-athlete.
Playing on both sides of the line, as a wide receiver and an outside linebacker, he kicked field goals, to boot. He finished the school’s 11-game season with seven touchdowns and almost 500 receiving yards.
This impressive performance did not go unnoticed, and over the course of the season he was named a Boston Latin Scholar Athlete by the Boston Scholar Athlete Association, then the Most Valuable Scholar Athlete, and finally a Dual County All Star, an award decided by the coaches of competing teams.
O’Toole got his start in football at age seven when he played for the Dorchester Eagles in the Pop Warner system. “I started playing down the street at Garvey Park,” he says, recalling his experience with the Eagles as formative. He still keeps in touch with an Eagles coach, Terry “Coach Beef” Cousins.
Jack’s father, John O’Toole, says there wasn’t much in the way of organized football in Boston when he was growing up, but after watching his son grow up in the Pop Warner system, he is deeply impressed: “When I had seen the organization that Dorchester Pop Warner had down the street…He’ll [Jack] probably tell you that it was probably the best football experience a kid can ever get.” The son seconds the motion, saying that football has “played an integral role in who I am and what I got out of high school.”
As is the case with many athletes, O’Toole’s high school experience has been shaped by the work ethic and relationships he built around football. “The friends I made playing football for Latin are some of the best friends I’ll ever make and definitely life-long friends. And football is just not like any other sport. It takes the most out of you,” he says. “There’s a lot of long days and a lot of pain that come from football, but you get the most satisfaction from playing and doing well with your teammates.”
O’Toole’s athletic success and his appreciation for hard work should come as no surprise in light of his plans for next year. In August, he enlisted in the Marine Corps, and he will leave for training next July.
“I come from a family that has a long history of serving the country,” he says, citing his grandfather, who also served in the Marine Corps, as an inspiration and a role model who went on to become a Boston firefighter. For his part, grandson Jack hopes to pursue a career in law enforcement at the end of four years of active duty.
But until next summer, it appears that there are more successes at The Latin School in the offing for O’Toole. He is just beginning his final season as a member of the varsity basketball team.