Dartmouth's Sean Sylvia (19) and Justin Mello (80) on the football field. (Globe File Photo)
After years of bringing crowds to their feet with countless touchdown connections and electric 3-pointers, a dynamic Dartmouth duo finally crossed the high school sports finish line Saturday on a quiet tennis court on the campus of BC High in Dorchester.
Seniors Justin Mello and Sean Sylvia lost to a pair of sophomores, Sam Mullin and Kevin Cleary, 6-4, 6-4, in the first round of the Division 1 South tournament. BC High swept the Indians, 5-0.
‘‘It’s over now, but we had a good run,’’ said Mello. ‘‘Even this season, we did better than we thought we would do.’’
‘‘We had a lot of fun,’’ echoed Sylvia. ‘‘Now we can go to school and do it again.’’
A tennis court isn’t where their story was supposed to end. Sylvia and Mello were baseball players... Until this spring. The pair decided to play tennis, hoping for a shot in a few junior varsity matches, and maybe a varsity match if they were lucky. Instead, the two jelled as a doubles team, quickly became the Indians' No. 1 doubles team while earning Old Colony League All-Star honors.
Mello, a wide receiver/cornerback with outstanding football instincts, will attend the University of New Hampshire in the fall. He leaves Dartmouth as the Indians’ all-time leader in interceptions, receiving yards, and receptions, including 63 catches this past season, a school single-season record. He was also a top option out of the backfield for the Old Colony League champions. Mello was selected as an OCL All-Star each of the past two seasons, nabbing All-Scholastic honors this past year.
On the court, he was one of the area's top all-around players, leading the Indians in rebounds and averaging just under 12 points per game. Dartmouth basketball coach Steve Gasper once dubbed Mello, ‘‘Mr. Everything’’ after a well-rounded effort lifted the team to a victory over New Bedford. He has been an OCL All-Star for three consecutive years.
If there was a ‘‘Mr. Everything’’ on the gridiron, it would have to the Chesire Academy-bound Sylvia. The quarterback / safety / kicker / wide receiver (in his sophomore year) was an integral part of a perfect regular season, despite missing over a month after aggravating a hamstring injury while kicking a game-winning field goal over Mansfield in the season opener. Sylvia still managed to throw 9 touchdown passes, all after returning from the injury. Sylvia has been an OCL All-Star ever year since he was a sophomore and was named an All-Scholastic in 2007.
With a basketball in his hands, Sylvia was just as deadly. He led his team in scoring while earning yet another OCL All-Star selection, his second in three years.
While the two standout athletes never led the Indians to a state championship, they came excruciatingly close on several occasions. Success and accolades aside, the two have left Dartmouth with great memories.
Including a few from a tennis court.
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Emily McCarthy | @EmilyMcCahthy | BPS correspondent
- Jake Fischer | @GlobeFischer | Boys basketball
- Michelle Fenelon | @michfenelon | Girls basketball
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Boys hockey
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls hockey
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.