Anthony Emberley will never forget where he came from.
The former Silver Creek standout will be forever grateful to coaches and teammates who helped shape his future, a future that is in the midst of getting brighter in Cambridge, Mass., at MIT.
“Without coach (Mike) Apodaca and the coaching staff (at Silver Creek) and my really good friends and friends on the team, I would not have been playing college football,” he said. “I really appreciate everything they have given back to me.”
Emberley all but assumed his football life was over when he walked off the field a state champion for the Raptors in 2012, beating Rifle at Legacy Stadium in Aurora.
“It’s absolutely a dream come true and I couldn’t be happier. I remember after the last play of the championship game my senior year and not really knowing what I was going to do, or if I was going to play football after that,” Emberley said. “I was thinking that it is probably not going to get better than this. But that sense of care of the team and that sense of family like we had at Silver Creek was here and it has been an incredible journey.”
At a school that is not exactly synonymous with football — in fact, from 1901 to 1978 there was no football at MIT — Emberley and his teammates have turned Cambridge into a newfound football mecca. In his freshman season in 2013, the Engineers finished with their best record in program history at 6-3.
They took that momentum and ran with it this past season, recording their first unbeaten season at 9-0 and making the Division III playoffs for the first time in school history. They won their playoff opener in overtime on the road in Maine against Husson University before finally watching their season come to a close in Delaware to Wesley College.
“It was incredible and something that a lot people weren’t really expecting around campus and even back home,” said Emberley, who was second on the team in tackles with 82. “It was a lot of fun.”
The highlight of the season for Emberley, who also recorded four of the Engineers’ nine sacks in 2014, came in October against New England Football Conference foe Western New England.
With 42 seconds left, the Golden Bears scored a touchdown to cut the lead to 35-34 and all they needed was an extra point to force a potential overtime. Instead Emberley, with two of his high school buddies in the stands who had flown out to watch him play, blocked the tying PAT and kept MIT’s dream season alive.
“Winning the conference and winning a playoff game were two of our biggest goals coming into the season and being able to come through and complete those goals when a lot of people thought we shouldn’t,” he said. “(That) was the highlight of the season.
“That was probably the most hyped I’ve ever been after a football play in my life.”
At a school where academics come first, Emberley is making the most of his education, studying computer sciences and is involved in electrical engineering as well as mechanical engineering.
His goals after school are lofty.
“I’m super interested in entrepreneurship, building things and kind of taking things from the ground up,” said Emberley, who will head to Moscow in January to teach some of the things he has been learning. “My own start-up business is the ultimate goal, and ideally I can create something that hopefully changes the world in a positive way and brings the world some sort of benefit.”
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