Seminole Ridge High School graduate Michael Fontecchio recently signed to play football at Ohio Northern University. The standout lineman played all four years with the Hawks during his high school career, with three of those years on the varsity squad.
Fontecchio selected Ohio Northern over several other schools because he was immediately taken by its civil engineering program. “My main decision was academics, but they actually have a pretty good football team as well,” Fontecchio explained. “It was a perfect fit for me.”
The Polar Bears have had recent success in the Ohio Athletic Conference NCAA Division III, being nationally ranked in 2015 and making the second round of the playoffs in the 2015 postseason.
Seminole Ridge offers a construction program where students can study the various facets of the construction industry, and Fontecchio was heavily involved in the program. “I always liked building things,” he said.
Fontecchio said his visit to the school confirmed his decision after talking with their coaches at a college fair. “I was always interested in playing in college,” he said. “It wasn’t until I had college coaches come talk to me that I realized I could play.”
Early in his career, Fontecchio played linebacker, but as the 5-foot-10, 245-pounder gained muscle and size through rigorous weight training, he then moved to the offensive and defensive line, where he thrived. The trenches are where games are won and lost, and the Hawks have demonstrated that each season.
Fontecchio was a dual-sport athlete, also competing on the weightlifting team, where he was a part of the team’s three-year run as district champions, and qualified for the state tournament in his senior year.
He will be the first to tell you that weight training at Seminole Ridge is taken seriously, and he attributes much of his success to it over the years. “You have to work hard in the weight room and in academics,” he explained.
In addition to his success in the weight room, Fontecchio was honored as a Town-Crier all-area selection. He was a big part of the Seminole Ridge success on offense, paving the way for the running game.
His success on the field is equivalent to his success off the field. In the classroom, he managed a 3.4 GPA and a 3.8 HPA and was a member of the National Honor Society. Countless hours of volunteering around the community for various functions were also a passion for Fontecchio. On top of that, he was involved in the Boy Scouts for nearly 10 years, where he recently received his Eagle Scout award.
When Fontecchio reflects on his high school football career, he recalls two rival game memories. “I would have to say defeating Wellington on their own field was a big deal, and winning back the cup over Royal Palm Beach, because it was on TV,” he said. “Playing at the Disney stadium against Sulphur Springs, Texas, was also a big deal, because we were playing in Orlando and in a different stadium.”
Fontecchio attributes many of his opportunities to head coach James Parson. “He is one of my favorite coaches,” he said. “He is close with the players and was fair to everyone.”
Assistant coach Jalani Lord was also high on Fontecchio’s list. “His coaching helped me and it was effective, and I appreciate that,” he said.
Without question, Fontecchio is a well-rounded student-athlete who has found a balance between athletics and academics in efforts to pursue his dream of playing football in the cold climate of Ohio.
“Watching the NFL games in the snow is something I always wanted to do growing up in Florida,” he said. “Now I can do that.”
To follow Fontecchio in the fall with the Polar Bears, visit www.onusports.com.
ABOVE: Seminole Ridge High School football standout Michael Fontecchio is headed to Ohio Northern University.