Foxborough, Mass. – With a 35-25 victory on the road at Brockton's Rocky Marciano Stadium on Friday, Natick High School's Mark Mortarelli has been named the New England Patriots High School Coach of the Week.
Mortarelli's Red Hawks improved their record to 3-0 on the season and remain undefeated in the Bay State Conference after the hard-fought win over the Boxers. After facing their first deficit of the season through the first quarter of action, the Red Hawks responded to a 13-7 deficit with 21 consecutive points to take control of the game. Junior quarterback Will Lederman regained the lead for Natick on a 5-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, and following a turnover on downs from the Red Hawks defense, led a 15-play, 76-yard touchdown drive that culminated with a 6-yard touchdown run by junior running back Jalyn Aponte to extend the lead to 21-13 at the break.
Lederman, who finished 12-of-19 for 162 yards, capped off the first possession of the second half with a 17-yard touchdown strike to junior Jake Dunlap to keep the Red Hawks rolling with a 28-13 lead. Brockton responded with two fourth-quarter touchdown passes of their own to cut the deficit to three, at which point Aponte put the Boxers away for the night with a 5-yard touchdown run that sealed Natick's third consecutive double-digit win.
With the win, Natick is now ranked No. 6 by the Boston Globe and No. 2 in the Division 2 South rankings by the Boston Herald. The 3-0 start has the Red Raiders tied atop the Bay State Conference [Carey division] with Wellesley as they look to capture their third-straight conference title.
Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett, now the team's executive director of community affairs, met with the Natick 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 Mortarelli. 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.
"What an outstanding show of resiliency by Coach Mortarelli's Red Hawks on Friday night," Tippett said. "To face an early deficit on the road and to hold off a late surge by a tough Brockton team shows the type of character Coach Mortarelli instills in his players. We wish the program the best in the remainder of their 2019 season."
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 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 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.