By Kim Siebert MacPhail
Bedford’s newest folk hero, Stephane Todeschini, came to the United States from France on a Rotary scholarship in August. Now, in only his third month at Bedford High School, Todeschini may be the best-known student on the entire campus, all due to his strong and straight kicking ability which has gone a long way to making this football season one to remember.
The short version of the story of the 2012 Thanksgiving Day football game is that, while the lead went back and forth throughout the Bedford v Concord Carlisle game, it came down in the end to an extra point in overtime— kicked by Todeschini through the uprights—and a Bedford win, 35-34.
According to Mike Rosenberg—who among many other things is a longtime Bedford sports enthusiast and football game announcer—this was only the 13th time in the 40 year Thanksgiving Day rivalry that the home team has prevailed. And it all came down to Todeschini’s right foot.
“[At 35 yards] it was the second longest field goal in Bedford football history,” said Rosenberg. “Mike Ruggerio did 43 yards in 1981. But this one was so important and [Stephane] did it so effortlessly.
“Let me tell you what else he did that doesn’t make the headlines,” Rosenberg continued. “The kick-off…just stopped…at the 30 yard line. I don’t know how he did it—I’ve seen him do it before. It didn’t bounce. Bedford recovered it and went in afterward for a touchdown and took the lead.
“Then the next kick-off went to the 2 yard line, which you almost never see in high school—that distance—and the Concord player slipped as he caught it and had to stop. That’s where they had to set up. On the very next play, Bedford was able to tackle the ball carrier in the end zone for a 2-point safety. So there’s another 2 points.
“Then Concord had to kick to Bedford and that turned into another touchdown. So, directly because of those kick-offs were another 16 points. It’s not just the ones on the score sheets but also things that led to other good things happening. And all because of the skills of kicking.I haven’t stopped smiling for a week,” Rosenberg added.
When asked how he came to try out for the team, Todeschini said, “I knew about American football before I came here and when I learned I would come to the United States, I wished I would be able to play football.”
When he showed up on the first day of practice, “the coach asked me to try a kick. So I did it and he was really happy.That was it.”
Many might imagine that Todeschini plays soccer in his native France, but instead he plays rugby. When asked if he kicks a lot for his rugby team he replied, “No, they don’t let me. I’m not good enough.”
Instead, Todeschini attributes his ability to growing up with a tradition of playing soccer on the playground. ”I think that a lot of kids in France are good kickers.”
Todeschini doesn’t like it when people call him a hero, but he is happy to have been a part of the success of Bedford’s football team. “I knew it was really important to get it right so I was nervous. I understood what was involved.”
When he’s not on the football field, Todeschini enjoys helping with French classes at BHS as well as studying in his Economics class with teacher Richard Donnelly.
“I would like to do Business study when I go back to France. My wish would be to have my own shop—like a clothing shop. That would be nice.”
Todeschini says that his experience in Bedford has been rich and that his English has greatly improved since his arrival. “It’s interesting to learn what people here think about France—a lot of that is wrong. It’s good have the chance to give them the real point of view.”
Click here to read Mike Rosenberg’s Lowell Sun story about the game.