Ferrucci: ‘The Heart & Soul’ Of Natick High’s Grid Squad Captain Excels at Tailback, Linebacker
Teddy Ferrucci (middle) says his two brothers, Max (left) and Felix (right), set the tone for him to succeed.
By KEN HAMWEY
Staff Sports Writer
Teddy Ferrucci is a dynamic ambassador for Natick High’s football team and he’s focused on getting the Redhawks back into the post-season playoffs.
The Redhawks came close but did not qualify for the Division 2 tourney last year. They finished strong, however, winning their final three games that gave them a 6-5 record. Ferrucci and his teammates will be challenged this season because Natick now will be competing in Division 1.
The 5-foot-9, 180-pound senior captain, who’s a two-time Bay State Conference all-star, will be a vital key for Natick because he sets lofty goals and he’s got the kind of attributes that lead to success.
“Teddy is the heart and soul of our team and should be one of the most productive players in the league this year,’’ said Natick coach Mark Mortarelli. “He plays two of our most important positions, is incredibly physical and has terrific instincts. Teddy will be our tailback and outside linebacker.’’
A native of Natick, Ferrucci has a high football IQ, he’s got mental toughness, his technique is sound and he relies on speed and strength.
The goals he’s set for his third varsity season are challenging but the National Honor Society student isn’t one to shy away from difficult tasks.
“My team goals are to go undefeated, beat Framingham, win the Carey Division title and go as deep into the playoffs as possible,’’ Ferrucci said. “My personal objectives are to be the best captain I can be, gain 1,000 all-purpose yards, and be the MVP of the conference.’’
A three-year starter at linebacker, Ferrucci is a team-first player. “Teddy is completely unselfish and is exactly the type of player we want representing our program,’’ Mortarelli said. “He takes the job of leading our program very seriously and takes a lot of pride in representing Natick Football.’’
Ferrucci, who also plays the wing in basketball, loves playing tailback but he also enjoys the responsibilities at linebacker.
“At running back, there’s a thrill in scoring,’’ he said. “You get to celebrate a game-winning TD. I’m a power-back and I like to hit the holes hard. On defense, I enjoy hitting an opponent or going one-one-one with a running back. We use a 3-5 defense so there’s a lot of room to cover.
Last season, Ferrucci missed four games after suffering a fractured collarbone, but he still managed to gain 400 yards rushing and to score two TDs.
“Teddy is a complete football player,’’ Mortarelli emphasized. “He can catch the ball, block, run between the tackles and has the speed to break long runs. As a linebacker, he has natural instincts and is a great open-field tackler. We have to slow Teddy down in practice, because he has one speed and that’s full-speed all the time.’’
Ferrucci intends to be a captain who leads by example but he’ll also be communicative.
“I want to lead on and off the field,’’ he emphasized. “But, I’ll be vocal, too. If a teammate needs help or has a question, I’ll be supportive.’’
Ferrucci says his best effort last year came against Hopkinton in his first game back after the injury. “We trailed but won by two points on a late drive,’’ he recalled. “I finished with 125 all-purpose yards, 12 tackles, one sack, and gained 70 yards rushing on the game-winning drive.’’
His top thrill on the gridiron isn’t his elevation to captain or his two BSC all-star selections, but rather the spirit that surrounds the football program.
“The environment that’s been created is what matters,’’ he noted. “My teammates and I have strived to build team spirit. On weekends, we hang out and it’s just a great feeling. On or off the field, the environment is special.’’
Although Ferrucci labels the Redhawks’ current group as “young,’’ he’s looking forward to the contributions of Natick’s other three senior captains — Arnold Kawere (receiver/defensive back), Jared Marcus (center), and Jack Cuddy (offensive tackle).
“Arnold has lots of energy and he’s dependable when a key play has to be made,’’ Ferrucci offered. “Jared has a great work ethic and plenty of passion for football, and Jack is knowledgeable, smart and aggressive.’’
A fan of Mortarelli, Ferrucci admires his approach. “Coach Mortarelli is a great motivator and the kind of person who wants the best for his players. He knows strategy and he’s the best coach I’ve ever had.’’
A fabulous student (4.2 GPA), Ferrucci isn’t sure he’ll play football in college but he’s leaning towards majoring in either medicine or business. Schools like Tufts, Colby, Williams, Amherst and Middlebury are potential venues.
Relying on an athletic philosophy that emphasizes winning, reaching one’s potential and having fun, Ferrucci has learned some valuable life lessons from football. “I’ve learned how to lead and set goals, how to sharpen one’s work ethic and how to overcome adversity and be resilient,’’ he said.
Calling his parents (Ben and Siegi) role models for their support and encouragement, he also lists his grandfather (Joe) as “inspiring.’’ His older brothers (Max and Felix) have also been very helpful. “They set the tempo for me,’’ Ferrucci said. “Both played football at Natick and both were captains and conference all-stars. Max was the BSC’s MVP his senior year, playing wide receiver and cornerback and Felix played safety.’’
During the summer, Ferrucci prepared for his final season of football by attending sessions of “Tough Camp’’ at the high school. In addition to those strength and conditioning drills, he worked out on his own, focusing on weight lifting and running and agility drills.
Although disappointed that the Redhawks failed to qualify for the playoffs last year, Ferrucci says: “It’s been a motivating factor. An urge has been created to return to the post-season tourney.’’
NHS now will be competing in Division 1 but Ferrucci isn’t intimidated by the news. “We played high quality teams in Division 2, like King Philip, Milford and Mansfield,’’ he said. “And, we know that Catholic Memorial is a power in Division 2. Division 1 will be challenging and there’s a sense of added pressure. I don’t think the change will be huge, but we’ll just have to work harder in practice and be fully prepared.’’
There’s no doubt that Teddy Ferrucci will answer the call and meet the challenge. Mortarelli is sure of that, emphasizing that “Teddy plays with an edge and if our team can adopt his aggressive attitude, we’ll be in good shape this fall.’’