Many of the top graduating football players in the state gathered at Bentley University in Waltham over the weekend, and front and center was Andover’s Matt Sutliff.
The former Golden Warrior offensive lineman started at right guard for the North squad in the elite Shriners Football All-Star Game this past Saturday, helping his team win 27-18.
“There’s no way I ever could have imagined this,” said Sutliff of being chosen to the elite squad. “If you had asked me junior year if I would have been going to the Shriners game, I would have said ‘No way.’ It really is an honor to be here. I am so excited.”
Sutliff, who started at left tackle for the Warriors for two seasons, said it was a dream to go from being cut from his eighth-grade team to being picked for the Shriners, helping the North to victory for the first time in five seasons.
“It’s really such a huge honor,” said Sutliff, who will play his college ball at Hobart College in New York. “It’s crazy. I can’t even explain how exciting it is. To be playing in this is one of the highlights of my football career.”
The hulking 6-foot-3, 280-pound Sutliff was one of just seven players from the Merrimack Valley Conference elected to the team, and the only Golden Warrior to be picked.
“It was actually funny because when I was selected, coach (E.J.) Perry called me,” he said. “He told me not to tell anyone, but my parents. I’m not sure why, but I think he might have wanted to make sure I was really selected. I wasn’t sure.
“There were so many great guys from Andover. (Will) Eikenberry, (Jack) Sylvester, (Ben) Hartford, John Oteri. Any of them could have been picked. To be the only one is really humbling.”