Reggie Wilkerson had one of the greatest seasons in Chelsea High football history in 1989. He threw for 1,644 yards and 13 touchdowns, rushed for six more and made 63 tackles at linebacker.
At season’s end, Wilkerson was named Commonwealth Conference MVP and selected to the Boston Globe All-Scholastic Team.
But Reggie – humble but confident in his superb athletic skills, personable, outgoing, popular, and owner of a beautiful smile – would be the first to tell people that he wouldn’t have become a football superstar if not for such great players around him like Gilberto Castro, Andre and John Hassell, Robert and Michael Yee, Chris Cardarelli, Edwin Quiles, and one teammate, John Ruiz, who became the heavyweight champion of the world.
Wilkerson first demonstrated his athletic talent in in the Youth Basketball League where he helped Bruce Harrison’s Bucks team win a playoff championship. He also excelled in the CHS basketball program but his football season in 1989 was what elevated him to the catergory of CHS all-time great. He began that ride to excellence in Pop Warner where he was a standout quarterback for coach Andy Diranian.
Wilkerson was a double-threat – he could throw the ball to speedy receivers like Chris Cardarelli and John Hassell or run the ball himself. He led this outstanding team coached by Anthony Cardarelli to the brink of a conference championship and a Super Bowl bid, only to have Greater Lowell edge the Red Devils in an exciting game on the Gryphons’ home field.
Reggie is doing just fine right now. He’s working as a certified personal fitness trainer at Planet Fitness and lives in Everett with his wife, Marisol, and their children. The children are starting to display the athletic prowess that their father did close to 25 years ago.
Tomorrow night Reggie Wilkerson will celebrate his 41st birthday with family and friends at the New Brown Jug Cafe in Chelsea.
What’s important to remember is that Reggie Wilkerson excelled not only on the sports field, but he’s been a superstar within his family, a loving brother to his younger sister, Trina, and a great son to his beloved mother, Irena.
Trina Wilkerson, who graduated from Chelsea High one year after Reggie, said of her legendary brother, “I remember what a fabulous athlete he was and that he was a divine individual and a caring individual. He’s a bubbly person who is willing to listen and be there for his peers.”
Trina said she is proud of her big brother. “I want to say to my brother that I love him dearly. Without him, I don’t know where I would be. He’s been a great influence on my life. He’s my hero.”
Trina recalled how her mother would save all the stories and photos of Reggie’s tremendous sports career.
“My mother has so many clippings and pictures from those days – it’s overwhelming,” said Trina. “She’s so proud of Reggie.”