‘Iceman’ — It’s a nickname that described Teddy Staunton perfectly when he lined up under center for the Peabody High football team more than 25 years ago.
Ironically, though, one of the greatest quarterbacks in Peabody High history — and on the North Shore as a whole over the last 40 seasons — didn’t get that moniker because he was a classic drop-back passer with a golden arm.
Instead, assistant coach Terry Lee dubbed him ‘Iceman’ after Staunton kicked a 33-yard field goal with eight seconds left to beat Malden — the team that presented the biggest obstacle in Peabody’s quest for the Greater Boston League championship in 1986 — by a 31-28 score.
The 6-foot-4, 185-pound Staunton earned a reputation for never being rattled in pressure situations. The Tanners depended on their quarterback to come through in the clutch — and he almost always delivered.
“It’s funny because it started out as a chip shot, but a penalty on one of our guys for being offsides moved it back,” Staunton, who still lives in Peabody, said of his famous kick. “We were playing in Malden and I remember they called a couple of timeouts, so it turned into a long ordeal. It seemed to me to go on for about 15 minutes before I finally got to kick the ball. Every time I see Niz (head coach Ed Nizwantowski) to this day, he talks about it.”
Staunton’s kick went straight through the uprights and set a then-GBL record for longest kick in a league game.
After the contest, Nizwantowski told The Salem News, “That’s why we call him ice. He showed the kind of athlete he is by walking out there under all that pressure and getting the job done. It didn’t even bother him. It was just a great comeback. You tell me, where are you going to see entertainment like that for $3?”