FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Following a perfect 13-0 season, capped off with the school's first football title since 1999, Wakefield Memorial High School's Coach John Rafferty has been named the 2022 New England Patriots High School Coach of the Year along with being nominated for the Don Shula Award.
Since becoming head coach at his alma mater just five years ago, Coach Rafferty has completely turned the football program around. Coach Rafferty led his team to their first undefeated and untied season since he was the captain of the team in 1970. He created a 'no excuses' attitude, that his players adopted and put to work. The attitude could be seen as they entered the playoffs as the No. 6 seed, having to travel to their final three playoff games, despite going undefeated in the regular season. Ultimately the Warriors were able to hold off top-seeded Milton in the Division 3 Super Bowl, winning 34-28, for the school's second ever football title.
Senior twin captains Christian and Nathan Delgado combined to rush for 173 yards and three touchdowns in the Super Bowl game. They both spoke highly of the coach who got them there.
"He's basically taught us everything we know about high school football," said Christian Delgado. "He has shaped us into the players we are today. He's also been a huge help in life in general. I've learned a lot about myself and how to be a good person from him as well."
"He's just taught me how to work hard, and if you have a goal to set your mind to it, work towards it and come together as teammates and get something accomplished," said Nathan Delgado
Patriots, College, and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett, now the team's Executive Director of Community Affairs, hosted the seniors of the Wakefield Warriors football team at Gillette Stadium for a special presentation on Tuesday morning. The football program was awarded with $2,000 on behalf of the Patriots Foundation in honor of Coach Rafferty. 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.
"Congratulations to Coach Rafferty and the Warriors on their undefeated season and Super Bowl Championship," said Tippett. "Coach Rafferty has done an incredible job of implementing his no excuses policy to lead these young men to one of the best seasons in school history. He is more than deserving of winning the 2022 New England Patriots Coach of the Year Award."
Along with the Coach of the Year award comes the nomination for the Don Shula Award. Coach Rafferty will join 31 other nominees from across the country. For the first time, the NFL will select two winners, one from each conference. These two winners will be honored by traveling to the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl LVII.
The winner of the Don Shula Award will receive $12,500, while the high school football program will be awarded $17,500. Meanwhile, the second finalist will receive $7,500 and his high school football program will receive $12,500. All other nominees will receive an additional $1,000.
This is the 27th 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 2022 season marks the 11th year that the Patriots have sent Tippett to present the award to the coach at their school.
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.