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Natick - Local Town Pages

Snoeyink A Key Component For Natick’s Football Team

Jacob Snoeyink (50) played defense at a high level for Natick High’s football team. Snoeyink hopes to continue playing football at the collegiate level next year.

Staff Sports Writer

Jacob Snoeyink could easily be the poster child for how a football captain leads and how a lineman in the trenches handles adversity.
A senior at Natick High, the 6-foot-1, 230-pound Snoeyink has started for two seasons at nose guard and offensive tackle. A Bay State Conference all-star as a junior, the 18-year-old plays both positions aggressively and instinctively. His leadership style and the resiliency he’s shown by playing hurt were prime assets for a football team that was 8-2 at Local Town Pages deadline but out of the running for a Super Bowl berth.
Natick opened the playoffs by downing North Andover, 31-21, but was unable to beat Milford in the quarterfinals, losing, 21-7. 
For Snoeyink, whose goal in the pre-season was to get to the Super Bowl, the loss at Milford was difficult. It stung and it hurt more than his aching shoulder and feet.
Natick’s coach, Mark Mortarelli, didn’t hesitate for a second to praise Snoeyink for his intense and aggressive play, not only during the regular season, but also in the playoffs.
“Jacob played both ways with multiple injuries,’’ Mortarelli said. “He set the tone for his teammates to always put the team first. His ability to play through two painful foot injuries and a shoulder injury has been incredible to watch. He is, without a doubt, one of the toughest kids we’ve had in a long time.’’
Snoeyink’s immediate reaction after losing was anger. A day after the setback, a different feeling took over.
“I was angry at first,’’ Snoeyink said. “Then I felt hollow. We lost to Milford during the regular season by a point and we wanted to avenge that defeat. After our quarterback (Colby Leblanc) got hurt throwing a TD pass and left the game, it seemed like we lost our momentum after leading, 7-0. We weren’t able to avenge the one-point loss earlier and we were out of the playoffs. It’s an empty feeling. I played hurt but everyone on our offensive line was dealing with injuries.’’
Snoeyink was voted a captain by his teammates and he fulfilled that role magnificently. He does, indeed, lead by example, but he gets vocal when the time is ripe — like giving pre-game and halftime pep talks.
“When a speech is necessary, I’m not afraid to speak up,’’ he emphasized. “I try to help our cause by using the right words. I stress playing hard, competing for one another and to take each repetition responsibly.’’
At halftime against Milford with the score knotted at 7-7, Snoeyink was unable to offer any inspiring words. “I was with the trainer getting my feet wrapped,’’ he revealed.
On dealing with adversity and relying on resiliency, Snoeyink gets an A plus. The “nagging’’ injuries his coach refers to are a dislocated shoulder and turf toe in both feet. None of those injuries caused him to miss any games.
I dislocated my shoulder and dealt with turf toe in my right foot (torn toe ligament) last season,’’ Snoeyink noted. “This year, I’ve had turf toe in my left foot. All three injuries still bother me but I’ve learned to play through the pain. The shoulder injury happened in practice. I just wrap it. As for the toe injuries, I insert a metal plate in my shoes and wrap the toes.’’
Snoeyink’s strengths as a lineman are a high football IQ, sound technical skills, athleticism and speed and quickness. “I’d also include mental toughness,’’ he said. “That enables me to bounce back and be resilient.’’
Snoeyink plays hurt because he knows football can disappear from his radar on short notice. “I’m not going to be playing football forever,’’ he said. “I want to make the most of my opportunity and enjoy the camaraderie and the spirit of the locker room.’’
Enjoying his role on defense a bit more than playing offensive tackle, Snoeyink says it’s because he likes to hit. “On defense, there’s more of a chance to make an impact,’’ he offered. “I like to pursue, tackle and sack an opponent. Offensive tackle is more about blocking and protecting.’’
Against Needham in Natick’s opener this year, Snoeyink was playing his first game as a captain. There was another first — he scored his first touchdown. 
“Our defensive end (Ryan Lebrun) hit the quarterback,’’ Snoeyink recalled. “I made the second hit and jarred the ball loose in the endzone. I fell on the ball for my first TD.’’ The strip sack gave the Redhawks momentum enroute to a 24-0 victory over the Rockets.
Snoeyink, however, rates his first-ever start, as a sophomore against Framingham on Thanksgiving, as his most memorable game. “Right tackle Jakoby Holiday was hurt and I started in his place,’’ said Snoeyink. “I played well and did my job. We won and that effort enabled me to grow in my role. I gained confidence and was able not to overthink the situation.’’
Snoeyink, who moved to Natick from Miami as a two-year-old, rates his top gridiron thrills as being selected as a captain and being chosen as a BSC all-star. “I’m more humbled by being a captain,’’ he said. “That’s because it shows I earned the respect of my teammates.’’
Three teammates Snoeyink admires and recognizes for their contributions are Natick’s senior captains — Aaron Becker (guard/defensive end), Jake Adelman (linebacker/running back), and Jason Little (receiver/defensive back). “They’re quality leaders who give 100 percent all day every day,’’ he said.
Snoeyink also is quick to laud Mortarelli, a coach who calls Snoeyink “one of the best linemen in the BSC.’’
“Coach Mortatelli has lots of great qualities,’’ Snoeyink noted. “He’s a no-nonsense guy who’s eager for us to roll up our sleeves and get to work. He’s an exceptional motivator who really knows football strategy and his pre-game speeches really fire me up.’’
A good student, Snoeyink would like to continue playing football in college. He’s still undecided on what school he’ll attend and whether he’ll major in business or biology. His future at Natick, however, still involves some competitive battles.
“After our final game against Framingham, I’ll strive to get healthy again and to get ready to play lacrosse,’’ he said. “It’s difficult to see the football season end. I loved playing with a great group of guys. After the playoff loss, I felt badly for our coaches who worked so hard. It’s an empty feeling because we couldn’t get the job done.’’
Calling his parents (Craig and Marah) role models for their support and encouragement, Snoeyink relies on an athletic philosophy that combines winning, reaching one’s potential and having fun. “I’m competitive, I love to win but really hate to lose,’’ he said. “Valuable life lessons I’ve learned from football are to be vocal, accountable, and prepared. Overcoming adversity is another great lesson that football teaches.’’
Jacob Snoeyink is a leader in so many ways and it’s his desire, dedication and devotion that make him a breed apart.