CANTON – Foxboro head coach Jack Martinelli had to wait one more game in his 41st year at the helm, but the magnitude was worth the wait and well deserved.
The Warriors (6-1, 3-0) didn’t waste any time this week as Martinelli notched his 300th career win in a 35-0 rout over Canton (4-3, 1-2) in a key Hockomock League–Davenport Division matchup before a crowded, pro-Foxboro crowd.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t mindful of winning tonight but I was more mindful that the kids were mindful and I wanted that off their plate,” said Martinelli, who has been coaching for 55 years, with 41 and counting at the helm in Foxboro. “I was nervous about this. I knew Canton coming into it has been playing pretty darn good and they had a purpose to play, and they have some pretty tough kids.”
Playing for the thousands of kids honored to play for coach Martinelli, Brandon Mazenkas-O’Grady had two blocked punt recoveries for touchdowns and Mike Marcucella (6-of-12 for 153 yards, 2 TDs) tossed long touchdowns of 29 and 82 yards in the first half alone as Foxboro was in control after exchanging punts with the Bulldogs to start the game.
Mazenkas-O’Grady did not hide his emotions for his head coach nor the enormity of the day for Foxboro.
“He means everything to me. He’s done so much for just me, kids on the team, he’s always there and so humble, unselfish. Words cannot describe what he means to me,” said Mazenkas-O’Grady. “I was out there trying to do everything for (Martinelli), this game meant a lot to me, especially for what he has done just for me.”
Marcucella connected with Ryan Foley on the 82-yarder on a double move down the left sideline by the sophomore halfback and Foley added to the 28-point second quarter for the Warriors with a 51-yard scamper through the heart of the Bulldogs’ defense with 2:52 left in the first half.
The defense and special teams of the Warriors were the stars with Mazenkas-O’Grady leading the way with the two blocked punt recoveries in the end zone as Trevor Palmer blocked the first one with Canton backed up inside the Foxboro 12.
Mazenkas-O’Grady did it all on his own on the second punt block as the senior defensive end circled back around the bouncing ball and scored from five yards out with 1:39 left and the comfortable five-touchdown lead at the break.
The Canton players congratulated Martinelli after the usual midfield handshake.
“The kids from Canton – they get it. Sometimes you have to play above your head to battle with (Foxboro), but we made our mistakes and didn’t capitalize on a few opportunities,” said Canton head coach Anthony Fallon, who played against Martinelli teams growing up in Canton. “We knew it was going to be a struggle on offense. We gave up one big play, and two big ones on special teams but other than that we fought hard. But that’s why he has 300 wins. Jack has built a great program over there.”
Martinelli is in seventh place all-time in career wins now and still seems spry enough with no end in sight despite starting the journey in Foxboro in 1982.
“All the number means is that I was allowed to do it long enough and the kids take care of the x’s and o’s and the wins and losses – it’s all them,” said Martinelli. “Brandon has been like that all season for me, though he’s been that way, to be honest, since his freshman year. He just makes plays and I know players run away from him, but he still makes plays on the other side of the field for us. He’s one special kid.”
Foxboro coach Jack Martinelli gets doused after his 300th win as Foxboro shut out Canton, 35-0. (Staff Photo/Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)