There have been many All-State football players from the Housatonic League, but the first was the captain of the 1939 Branford High team – Walty Tamulevich.
A triple – threat back on coach Johnny Knechts 24-man roster, TT went on to play at the New York Military Academy before injuring one knee and then the other in the 1940 season. His dream of playing with the Laurels had ended. Military service and an apprenticeship with a stone mason helped rehabilitate the wounded joints, and in the late 40’s he returned to fame with area softball units. Among the teams he played with were the Croatian Fraternal Union and the Meadow Restaurant.
He started his own mason company after his Air Corps days, married, and raised two children here in Branford.
There are some who said a player from a small school could never get voted onto an All-State team, but Walty proved that wrong with his selection.
There were some who said he’d never play again after injuring his knee. But with the aid of a special brace, he returned for the Admiral Farragut game (the little Army-Navy game) only to have the other knee give out during the contest. Ray Staviak, his coach, called him “the only potential All-American I ever coached”.
Tamulevich’s career was marred by the phrase “what could have been” because of the crippling knee injuries, but he’ll be best remembered for doing something “that couldn’t be done” – being named All-State from a small Housatonic league team from Branford.