Foxborough, Mass. - Following a 28-14 playoff victory at top-seeded Marblehead on Friday night, Dracut head coach Jason Rivers has been named this week's New England Patriots High School Coach of the Week.
Under Rivers' leadership, the eight-seeded Middies upset the Magicians to advance to the Division 4 North semifinals. The win was especially notable as it was the first Dracut playoff win since 2008 and marked just the third time in six years of MIAA football that an eight-seed has won its opening-round game. The Middies scored a touchdown on the first drive of the game and built on the early advantage, scoring four unanswered touchdowns to take a 28-0 lead in the second quarter. Marblehead rallied with two touchdowns to cut the lead to 28-14 early in the third quarter, but Dracut maintained possession of the lead and limited Marblehead's opportunities to secure the 28-14 victory.
Senior quarterback Devin Lambert shined for the Middies, passing for 229 yards and three touchdowns and running the ball into the end zone for another score. Senior receiver Cam McCullough caught two of Lambert's touchdowns, including a 40-yard pass for the opening score of the game. The Dracut defense also had a strong showing, holding previously undefeated Marblehead to 14 points and not allowing a first down until late in the second quarter. With the win, Dracut advances in the playoffs and will face fifth-seeded Wayland in the semifinals this Friday at 7 p.m.
Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett, now the team's executive director of community affairs, visited the Dracut players and coaching staff Tuesday afternoon to present the football program with a $1,000 donation on behalf of the New England Patriots Foundation, in honor of Coach Rivers. 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 23rd 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 2018 season marks the eighth year that Tippett has taken the award on the road to visit the schools that benefit from the program.
"Congratulations to Coach Rivers and the Dracut football program in their big playoff win at Marblehead," Tippett said. "What an impressive showing by the whole team and we wish them luck in the semifinals against Wayland."
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 eighth 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 New England 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.