At the end of every Dighton-Rehoboth football game, the player who made the biggest impact gets the honor of raising the sledgehammer.
On multiple occasions this season, senior captain Mason Cadorette has earned that privilege.
A three-year starter, the 6-foot-3, 258-pound Cadorette is the Falcons’ leading tackler, anchoring a defense that has allowed only 10.6 points per game entering Friday’s Division 4 Super Bowl against Nashoba Regional at Gillette Stadium at 5 p.m..
Football is more than just a passion for Cadorette, it is the biggest part of his life.
Cadorette is on the autism spectrum, and football has helped him succeed not just athletically, but academically and socially as well.
“Being classified in the special needs category has always been challenging and confronted me with various hurdles that I have been constantly overcoming my entire life,” said Cadorette.
“However, I was fortunate enough to be athletically gifted and utilized sports as my catalyst which fueled my ambition and drive to excel academically as well.”
Cadorette started playing football in seventh grade for the Seekonk Pop Warner program before transitioning to Dighton-Rehoboth the next year under his current varsity coach, Dave Moura. An assistant varsity coach at the time, Moura brought that eighth grade class together with the vision of creating something special.
For Cadorette, it was a chance to make a name for himself.
“It was a great opportunity for a future at D-R,” said Cadorette. “He is a caring guy, he motivates me and the others and I couldn’t thank him enough for what he’s done.”
Already a towering presence by the time he entered high school, Cadorette became dedicated to perfecting his craft on the defensive side of the ball.
On the first day of varsity practice his freshman year, his attitude and dedication was on full display. During a non-contact day, Cadorette came out to the field in full pads ready to go.
“In four years, Mason has never had a bad practice,” said Moura. “He’s fully committed and hustles all the time. The best part of his day is football practice.”
His hard work paid off during his junior season.
Through USA Football, Cadorette successfully advanced through all three tryout phases to make the Team USA roster for the U-18 International Bowl, finishing as one of the top 50 players among 10,000 in his age group.
“I’m a dedicated person when it comes to football,” said Cadorette. “This sport means so much to me, it’s just a blessing.”
His senior season has been nothing short of excellent. Several Division 1 FBS and FCS schools have taken notice of his athletic and academic prowess, including UConn, Bryant, Liberty, and Samford. He has impressed many collegiate programs with a time of 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
Cadorette was also voted captain at the start of the season by his peers. And from the outset, he has told his teammates that they would be closing the season at Gillette Stadium.
“The team has embraced Mason as a person,” said Moura. “It has fostered better team chemistry. What he has accomplished so far is just a part of something special.”
Cadorette’s teammates and friends have nicknamed him ‘JJ Watt’ for his humility and ability on field. In the Falcons’ Division 4 South final against Milton, it was Cadorette who made the play of the game on defense.
With Milton driving to take the lead late, Cadorette burst through a double team and chased down the quarterback, swatting the ball loose. He proceeded to shove the quarterback out of the way and recover the fumble, essentially the sealing the win.
“My drive to win is second to none, and I apply this mentality to everything I am involved with,” said Cadorette. “I am driven by the passion I receive from playing this game. Winning this Super Bowl is the only thing left to solidify this incredible year.”
His focus has not only translated to results on the football field, but in the classroom as well. Cadorette’s SAT scores have improved dramatically, and he has maintained his honor roll status throughout high school.
With one more football game remaining in his high school career, Cadorette’s passion for the sport he loves will pave the path to a bright future.
“Overcoming the adversities I have been dealt with has become a way of life,” said Cadorette. “Having identified what outlets I have available to assist me and fuel me have been milestones for me.
“I am thankful for the gifts I have been given.”
Dan Shulman can be reached at email@example.com.