March 6, 2011

Steve Solloway: That laugh of his lives on, as does the spirit behind it

(Continued from page 1)

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Running back Royston English, left, and offensive tackle Zack Magliaro celebrate during Maine’s memorable 2001 season. Cancer brought them together again in 2009.

2001 Associated Press File Photo

Faces of all colors took their place at the end of the line. Magliaro walked in with teammate and linemate Chris McLaughlin of Gardiner. Bob Kierstad, the linebacker from South Portland, was there. Todd Jagoutz, the kicker and Jarrod Gomes, a defensive back. Jeff Commissiong, a former assistant coach, now on the staff at Boston College. The English family had asked Coach Jack Cosgrove to speak at Saturday's funeral service and he was there. He embraced Rupert English Sr. for long moments, father to father.

Defensive linemen Dennis Dottin-Carter, now an assistant on Cosgrove's staff and Antoine B. Smith, heading for a new assistant's post at Holy Cross. Lofa Tatupu, now a linebacker with the Seattle Seahawks and his wife, Rachael, sent a large spray of flowers. Tatupu posted a tribute to English on the Brasco & Sons Memorial Chapels website, acknowledging that he only played at Maine for his freshman season before transferring to the University of Southern California.

"Royston was one of those rare people that can leave a lasting impression in a matter of minutes. No matter how bad your day was going, you could count on going to practice and him making you laugh by either joking around, flashing that unforgettable smile or bellowing out that signature laugh of his."

Six months ago, English prepared his friends and family for the end. An experimental treatment was not working.

Magliaro said his goodbye at his friend's bedside about five months later. Difficult? You bet, even for a gentle big man who could spot the sunshine on a cloudy day.

"I'll always remember one play. We were down near the end zone and I was on the ground. Royston was on top of me. His facemask and my facemark were touching and he says, 'Touchdown, Zack! Touchdown!'

"And then he laughed."

Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at:


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