The on-field result was not what Kingsley Umemba wanted as Holy Cross defeated his Georgetown University football team at Fitton Field in Worcester.
But the reception that the 6-foot-4-inch, 248-pound linebacker and defensive end enjoyed during the game and afterwards from his Chelsea delegation was something he’ll remember forever.
Even before Kingsley bounded up the ramp to see his family and friends, his mother, Joan Cromwell, had won over the entire team. Joan had already begun distributing to the Georgetown players the 120 meals that she had cooked in the days leading up to the game. The players no doubt appreciated Joan’s generosity and culinary talents on their long bus ride back to Washington, D.C., home to Georgetown University.
But this was Kingsley Umemba’s day, and it was clear by talking to his coaches and teammates that the Chelsea native had made a lasting impact on them with his exceptional leadership and positive attitude over the past five seasons (The team’s 2020 season was canceled due to the pandemic).
The people who had followed Kingsley’s superb football career from Chelsea Pop Warner onto the Buckingham Browne and Nichols School wanted to be there for his final college game in Massachusetts.
Kingsley played well in his dual role on defense and special teams. He registered a sack of the Holy Cross quarterback and was in on several tackles.
For those sitting in the Kingsley Umemba rooting section behind the Georgetown bench, it was heartening to hear former CHS football player Allan Washington predict so many Holy Cross plays in advance, showcasing his knowledge of the game. Kingsley’s uncle, former CHS basketball standout John Martin, also offered his in-depth analysis of the Georgetown defensive strategy and spoke to the Hoyas’ coaches after the game.
One of the Team Leaders
Larry Doherty is the defensive coordinator for the Georgetown Hoyas. He has been impressed by Umemba’s steady improvement as a player, his versatility, and his nose for the football.
“Kingsley’s been playing linebacker and defensive and on our special teams, so he has a lot of roles,” said Doherty. “He’s improved every year for us. He’s very valuable to our team and one of our most respected leaders. But more importantly, Kingsley’s a great young man from a great family. I love the family.”
Crediting Kingsley’s mom Joan’s contribution of 120 meals for the players, Doherty said, “She’s amazing.”
Head Coach Rob Sgarlata also spoke highly of Umemba’s contribution to the team. “Kingsley has done a really good job for us over his five years,” said Sgarlata. “He’s done a good job of really trying to keep our team together, doing everything that is asked of him. He’s brought a lot to our program. The seniors fought through a lot with us, so I’m proud of the whole group.”
Kingsley Reflects on his Career at Georgetown
Kingsley Umemba could have called it a career after COVID-19 canceled the entire 2020 season, but he wanted to return for a fifth year of college football.
“Last year was really tough and it gave a lot of kids who were playing sports an identity crisis, because it affected everyone’s regular schedule with schoolwork and sports – I think it’s been very helpful for a lot of kids to have a season. I’m glad I came back.”
He said he had a tremendous academic and athletic experience at Georgetown. “I’m so happy that I chose Georgetown. The educational opportunities, the sports, the social life, the networking – Georgetown offers the best of everything,” said Kingsley.
Kingsley said he was overwhelmed by the support he received from his family for the game against Holy Cross.
“It’s a great feeling, very comforting,” said Kingsley. “When I come home, I expect to see my family, and they put me in a lot more confident state to play a lot better game. It’s always good.”
Umemba will graduate in December with a degree in Sociology and a minor in Economics.
“My parents want me to go to law school, but I’m considering my options,” said the handsome scholar-athlete.
As for having his parents, Kenneth and Joan, in Worcester, Kingsley said, “It’s always great to see my parents – especially when they’re cooking like this. I love seeing people from Chelsea. If I had been playing at Chelsea Stadium, I probably would have had three sacks instead of one today. It’s good to be back home and in my home state of Massachusetts.”