The New England Patriots have always been known to be a team fully involved in the local community.
On Friday night, rookie linebacker Chase Winovich took that to a whole new level. With Massachusetts’ high school football playoffs beginning, Winovich visited nearby Franklin High School to give a rousing pregame speech to the members of the team ahead of their game.
Winovich was connected to Franklin by his Michigan defensive coordinator, Dom Brown, whose son Zach coaches baseball at Franklin. Sporting a team hat and all, Winovich got the Franklin team hyped and ready to go.
His speech paid off, as Franklin defeated rival Attleboro, 14-0, in the tournament opener using a stifling defense that Winovich himself would be proud to see.
Listen to his speech below:
Winovich was a fairly successful high school football player himself growing up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. One of the most versatile players on the field, Winovich played linebacker and quarterback at Thomas Jefferson High School, also seeing snaps at safety and as a kick returner.
His hard work paid off with a four-star designation and subsequent scholarship offer from Michigan.
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Winovich isn’t the only Patriots’ rookie who has spent time on the sidelines for a local high school game this season. Safety and second-round draft pick Joejuan Williams has made it a point to attend a different high school game every Friday night.
Williams has posted weekly on his Twitter feed asking his followers and other fans to recommend the best high school games in the Foxborough area this season. At first, his requests didn’t get a ton of response but with the playoffs beginning Williams has been receiving a hefty amount of recommendations.
He has also been attending youth football practices in Foxborough just to watch and be around the game. Williams has immersed himself in the local football scene and it may have influenced Winovich to get involved himself.
The Patriots and High School Football
The New England Patriots are traditionally heavily involved in high school football throughout the region. The Massachusetts’ state championship games are all held at Gillette Stadium over a two-day period in early December.
The winning teams are honored during a pregame ceremony held on the field at one of the team’s summer preseason games, with entire teams invited to attend the contest. In addition, jerseys from state champions across all six New England states are put on display at the Patriots’ Hall of Fame.
In addition, the Patriots name a different high school coach of the week throughout the season, marking individual and team accomplishments for the local coaches. The program is facilitated by Patriots’ and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett.
The coach of the week program is in its 24th season and is intertwined with the Patriots’ Charitable Foundation which donates $1,000 to the winning school’s athletic department in the coach’s name.