Foxborough, Mass. - With a stunning 35-29 victory over the 11th-ranked Holliston Panthers on Saturday afternoon, Ashland High School's Andrew MacKay has been named this week's New England Patriots High School Coach of the Week.
Sound offense and timely defense paved the way for Ashland in their first win over Holliston since 2001. Quarterback Dom Cavanagh led the charge offensively for the Clockers, throwing for 255 yards and two touchdowns on 19-of-25 passing, along with a pair of fourth-quarter rushing scores. Wide receiver Kevin Russell exploited a mismatch against the Panthers' secondary, securing eight catches for 84 yards and a touchdown on the day. Defensively, Brandon Grover was the difference maker late in the game.
After Holliston tied the game at 21-21 moving into the fourth quarter, Brandon Grover secured an interception at the Clockers' own 4 yard-line to set up a 96-yard touchdown drive, giving Ashland a 28-21 advantage. The Clockers forced another Holliston turnover deep in their own territory and capitalized with a quarterback sneak by Cavanaugh to stretch the lead to 35-21 with four minutes left. Holliston rallied, narrowing the score to 35-29, but Ashland's special teams sealed the victory, recovering an onside kick attempt with two minutes remaining in the game. The Clockers were able to run out the clock and escape with a victory.
With the win, Ashland moved to 6-0 on the year and snapped a losing streak to Holliston dating back to 2001. They'll look to maintain their perfect record this Friday when they travel to take on Norwood.
Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett, now the team's executive director of community affairs, met with the Ashland players and coaching staff Tuesday afternoon to present the football program with a $1,000 donation on behalf of the Patriots Foundation, in honor of Coach MacKay. The visit and check presentation will be featured on the Patriots weekly television show, "Patriots All Access," which airs on Friday night at 7 p.m. on WBZ-TV in Boston and will be available immediately after on Patriots.com.
This is the 24th year in which the Patriots have joined the National Football League in conducting the High School Coach of the Week program, which recognizes outstanding high school coaches and promotes youth football throughout New England. The 2019 season marks the ninth year that Tippett has taken the award on the road to visit the schools that benefit from the program.
"Coach MacKay's Clockers put together a complete team performance to beat Holliston," said Tippett. "They moved out to an early advantage thanks to their offense, and their defense and special teams stepped up for them when the game got tight in the fourth quarter. It was an impressive game all-across the board for Ashland, and we wish them continued success in their 2019 campaign."
At the conclusion of the fall, one of the weekly winners will be named the New England Patriots High School Coach of the Year and will receive an additional $2,000 contribution towards the school's football program.
For the ninth straight year, the Patriots will also be accepting nominations for High School Coach of the Week honors. Those who wish to nominate a high school football coach in New England who leads a team to an exceptional weekly performance or reaches a personal career milestone is encouraged to send submissions to email@example.com. All nominations must be submitted following a team's Friday night or Saturday afternoon game to be considered for that week's Coach of the Week award.
The Patriots Foundation is the non-profit through which the Patriots support charitable and philanthropic organizations throughout New England. This support comes in the form of direct grants, in-kind donations and player appearances. The foundation assists a variety of charitable organizations and programs throughout New England by supporting their educational, family and health initiatives.