Ferrucci Brothers Should Be a Dynamic Duo For Natick Grid Squad

Ken Hamwey Staff Sports Writer
Max Ferrucci, left, and his younger brother Felix are a talented tandem for the Redhawks’ football squad.
Issue Date: 
July, 2018
Article Body: 

Natick High’s football team will begin pre-season workouts next month and coach Mark Mortarelli will be getting his first chance to see the brother combination of Max and Felix Ferrucci on the field simultaneously.
The brothers could have teamed up last fall but Felix decided to skip his sophomore year on the gridiron to get his right knee 100 percent repaired. Felix suffered a torn ACL in his first game at quarterback for the freshmen in 2016. Now a junior, Felix is eager to display his capabilities and the 5-foot-8, 170-pounder will be working out at free safety on defense and at quarterback, running back and wide receiver on offense.
A 5-foot-9, 165-pound senior, Max, who was a Bay State Conference all-star receiver last year, will be a captain this season. If needed, Max can also play in the defensive secondary.
Mortarelli is bullish on both boys, admiring their team-first philosophy and their devotion to both athletics and academics. Max, a National Honor Society student, has a 4.05 GPA and Felix isn’t far behind at 3.90. Max is leaning towards a science major in college and Felix hopes to become a medical doctor.
“I’m leaning on using Felix at free safety but he’s such a natural athlete, making him a threat at any of the skill positions on offense,’’ Mortarelli said. “Felix is quick, he can thrown and run and he’s got great focus. He’s a very instinctive player.
The coach also likes what Max brings to the table.”He’s a leader by example,’’ Mortarelli said. “He works hard, he’s diligent and at receiver he runs precise routes, is quick off the mark and has great hands. As a cornerback, he’s impressive. He’s tough, smart and plays the angles well.
Summing up the tandem, Mortarelli said: “They’ll play huge roles for us. They’re great kids who are team-oriented and unselfish. Last year, we finished 9-1 during the regular season and I’m cautiously optimistic about the 2018 squad. We lost some terrific seniors but we’re a young, hard-working team with talent. ‘’
Following is a profile of the brothers as they discuss their team and individual goals, reflect on the past and prepare for the future:
It’s no accident that Max is a captain because his approach is phenomenal.
“To be a success at wideout and at cornerback you need mental toughness, you have to know your playbook and all the situations that arise and being prepared in practice is a must,’’ he emphasized.
Max had a dynamic season at wide receiver last year. He had 31 receptions for 532 yards and 4 TD catches. His goals for his final year include double digit touchdowns, surpassing 31 receptions and repeating as a league all-star.
“My team goals are to qualify for the playoffs again and advance further than we did last year (Natick bowed to Bridgewater-Raynham after defeating New Bedford),’’ Max noted. “We can match last year’s record and I also want us to win the Herget Division. These objectives are realistic because we’ve got the talent and the coaches to direct us.’’
Max’ strengths at wide receiver are his quickness, hands and his elusiveness in the open field. On defense, an ability to read the quarterback and stay with the receivers are his prime assets.
During the Redhawks’ playoff run last year, Max excellent against New Bedford in a 42-0 rout. “I had three receptions for 65 yards and two catches went for touchdowns,’’ he recalled. “I was glad to provide a spark in that game.’’
Max delights in lauding Natick’s other senior captains — Gio DeJesus (defensive back/running back), Hunter Ferrera (middle linebacker) and Colin Ghilani (defensive back/receiver). “They’re all skilled and they’re quality leaders and role models,’’ Max said. “They’re solid in their approach and performance and they’re also humble.’’
Mortarelli also gets high marks from his all-star wideout. “Coach Mortarelli is a terrific motivator who pushes us to do well,’’ Max said. “He’s outstanding as a game planner and knows so much about situational football.’’
Relying on a philosophy of competing hard to win and reaching one’s potential, Max also believes that “daily improvement goes a long way to achieve goals.’’ He also says it’s “awesome’’ to finally team up with Felix. “It hasn’t happened for a long while but he’s done a great job coming back from injury.’’
A centerfield on the baseball team, Max hit .309 as a sophomore and led the Redhawks’ in batting. As a junior, he hit .391.
Baseball, however, is in his rear-view mirror and Max is focused now on pre-season football. “I’m looking forward to it,’’ he said. “It’s a time to judge our team chemistry and to see how the younger players do. It’ll project who stands out and how well we bond.’’
Athletics teach excellent life lessons and overcoming adversity is one. Felix is a prime example of how to deal with a setback. He handled his ACL injury with class and dignity, and he paid the price in rehab to get healthy and bounce back.
“It was painful to watch Max play and not be out there, too,’’ Felix said. “It took me seven months in rehab and I missed just about my entire freshman year of football and basketball. I returned in time to play freshman baseball.’’
And his return was dynamic. In his first game back from injury, Felix went 3-for-3, getting two doubles and a triple. He hit .400 for the season.
“Rehab was tiring and I wanted to get back quickly,’’ Felix noted. “I had a mindset that I’d work hard, put in a big effort and do what was needed to return. The injury made me more eager to play again.’’
If Felix spends most of his time on the gridiron at free safety, Mortarelli will be smiling for three reasons. Felix is athletic, has a high football IQ and he’s mentally tough. At the skill positions on offense, he’s strong, quick off the line, makes decisions quickly and reads blocks well.
Mortarelli also will like Felix’ goals for the 2018 campaign. “My team objectives are for us to get to the playoffs and do our best to advance,’’ Felix said. “We’ve got juniors and seniors with lots of talent. I also want to see our team bond and produce great chemistry. As for me personally, I want to stay healthy. On defense, I want to get five-plus interceptions and I’d like to catch some TD passes. And, I haven’t given up the quarterbacking job. I’d like to win that job and throw some TD passes.’’
Relying on a competitive philosophy of “playing each game like it’s a playoff matchup,’’ Felix also believes that playing at one’s peak every down or every at-bat leads to success. “Besides overcoming adversity, two other life lessons that sports teach are developing a positive attitude and learning how to be leaders,’’ he emphasized.
During the varsity team’s baseball season, Felix played second base and shortstop and he also was the Redhawks’ DH. He hit in the third and fourth slots and batted .327.
He showed lots of ability on the diamond and now he’s ready to display his talent next month in pre-season drills. “I’ve been away from football for two years,’’ he said. “I’ve got extra incentive to prove myself. I’m edgy and eager. August will be a big month. We’ll see how the team looks and I want to show what I can do on offense and defense. And, at quarterback.’’