A small SouthCoast school went big time this week as Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School coach Brandon Mendez was selected as the New England Patriots High School Football Coach of the Week.

Mendez described the selection as “surreal,” and mentioned that it felt good to see Old Colony recognized along with some of the larger schools that often win awards like the one given out each week by the Patriots.

“I look at some of the guys who already won this year – coaching legends,” Mendez said in an interview on WBSM. “So to be mentioned in the same breath and given the same type of recognition and respect as a team for us is huge.”

Mendez has led the Cougars to 5-0 start, and it was last week’s 22-14 win over Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech that solidified the award for Mendez, as Old Colony scored all of their 22 points in the first half and held off a late-game surge by the GNB Voc-Tech in the first-ever matchup between the two teams.

The Bears are the defending state vocational large school champions, so Mendez said it was a “big deal” for the Cougars to come away with the win.

“To take on that kind of challenge and succeed was just phenomenal,” he said.

Even though Old Colony’s 40-man roster was half the size of the Bears’ roster, Mendez said it was more about “the size of the fight in the dog.”

“The kids had a great week of practice, and really worked hard on execution and being in control from start to finish,” Mendez said.

“When you walk into a bigger environment, with a bigger crowd, you can just be overwhelmed, and our kids did a great job of preparing themselves to be ready to play and to be in control the whole time, which allows you to play with confidence – and when you do that, anything can happen,” he said.

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As part of his selection as Patriots High School Coach of the Week, Mendez and his team got a visit at the school's Rochester campus from Patriots legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Andre Tippett on Tuesday. Tippett presented the football program with a $1,000 check on behalf of the Patriots.

Courtesy New England Patriots
Courtesy New England Patriots

“This win says a lot about Coach Mendez and his team,” Tippett said in a release. “To go into that game, against a much larger school, and not flinch at all is impressive. Coach Mendez has done a great job of building this program up and preparing his team to stand tall in the face of this challenge.”

Mendez, though, gives the credit to his players.

“It really was all about the team,” he said. “I looked at them and said you guys did this, you just make it easy for me by coming and playing and having great attitudes. They really earned it and they were just as excited as I was by this.”

Courtesy Brandon Mendez
Courtesy Brandon Mendez

Mendez, who is in his eighth season as coach of the Cougars, knows that this selection goes beyond just football and that it means something to the school and the community as a whole.

“Just the outreach from people in the building – teachers, students. In a small school, you know the majority of kids, but kids I usually don’t talk to stopped me in the hall,” he said. “Alumni, former players, school committee members – the people that have reached out to me in the past 24 hours, it’s overwhelming, It’s just tremendous for our school.

A segment focusing on Mendez and the Cougars will air on this Friday’s edition of Patriots All Access on WBZ at 7 p.m. Old Colony will be traveling back from Blue Hills Regional Technical School at that time, hopefully with their sixth straight win under their collective belt.

“But I’ve got the DVR set already,” Mendez said. “I have to call my mom and help her set up her DVR, too.”

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