Medway’s Hundertmark Is Rarely The Center Of Attention Mustangs’ Grid Captain A Superb LinemanMar 01, 2021 10:49AM ● By Ken HAMWEY
Max Hundertmark has the right stuff to play center for Medway High’s football team.
Those who play the position rarely are noticed, hardly ever get any publicity, and by the very nature of their role, centers take a physical beating as they absorb hit after hit.
A senior, the 6-foot-2, 240-pound Hundertmark, who’ll be playing his third varsity season for the Mustangs, knows what the position requires and he approaches his role in a very analytical way.
“Because a center touches the ball on every offensive play, he has to be in charge of the line,’’ Hundertmark said. “The position requires leadership. If a pass play is called, then it’s the center’s job to indicate what side of our opponent’s line is the strongest, and if we’re using a running play, then I have to decide if we need to double-team a specific lineman.’’
The 17-year-old Hundertmark is acutely aware that to be successful at center depends on three attributes. “A center has to be the smartest guy on the line because there’s so many things to process,’’ he said. “Being physically tough is a must because a center gets hit often, and quick hands and feet are necessary to block effectively.’’
The lack of notice goes with the position and Hundertmark fully understands that. “The fans’ eyes aren’t focused on the center,’’ the Medway native said. “A center gets noticed only when he messes up. The coaches are the ones who praise the offensive line and they know when a center is doing well.’’
A center since he was six, Hundertmark has played that position at the Pop Warner level, during Middle School and for the Mustangs’ varsity. A back-up center on the varsity as a sophomore and the starter on the jayvees, his career got off to a bumpy start when he suffered a double fracture of his left ankle against Dedham (his first game with the jayvees).
“It was disappointing,’’ he noted. “All the work and the effort were wasted. I was looking forward to the start of my varsity career.’’
Hundertmark, however, bounced back in stylish fashion. He had a solid junior season, helping Medway go 7-4. His desire led to his coaches and teammates voting him a captain.
“I dreamed of being a captain when I was playing Pop Warner football,’’ Hundertmark said. “It’s an emotional feeling and it provides confidence. It’s humbling and it showed that my work was recognized. I hope to be a leader by example, on and off the field, and I’ll also be vocal and supportive of all my teammates.’’
Three teammates Hundertmark admires are seniors Reece Curran (co-captain, tight end/defensive end), Jake Eddy (linebacker) and Nick DerGarabedian (receiver/cornerback. “I’ve worked out with them for three years,’’ he said, “and they’re all leaders who are talented at their positions.’’
When Hundertmark competed at the Pop Warner and jayvee levels, he played for his father (Craig), who has 30 years of grid experience. His father was offensive coordinator at Martha’s Vineyard where he helped the school win two Super Bowls and he also coached the Medway freshmen.
Hundertmark’s intense passion and his analytical approach to football no doubt are attributes linked to his father. Medway’s coach, Anthony Mazzola, lauds his center, primarily because of his commitment to fundamentals and his desire to lead.
“Max is a very intelligent player,’’ said Mazzola. “He understands schemes and I can see him being a coach. He’s a very technical player who worked hard in the offseason to add strength. Capable of playing on defense, Max also brings a level of maturity to our offensive line. Though we have three returning players, including Max, on the OL, he’s the only senior. His leadership skills, knowledge, and willingness to compete are what our underclassmen should mirror and add to their growth and development.’’
Calling Mazzola a solid strategist and a top-notch motivator, Hundertmark displays a keen perspective when commenting on the covid-19 pandemic and its effect on football.
“Emotions ran high when we thought we might not play football,’’ Hundertmark said. “When it was moved to the Fall 2 season, that was a blessing. We got motivated again. Our guys just wanted to have a season and there were no problems with any restrictions. As a captain, I’ll stress patience with any modifications. The big picture, however, is the health and safety of everyone. I’ve got parents and grandparents and we want our family, school and community to be safe.’’
Medway’s season will open on March 19 at home against Millis and that’s when Hundertmark’s goals will kick in. He’s got team and individual objectives. “I want our team to meet every challenge, win every game and enjoy the journey,’’ he emphasized. “My individual goals are to work hard at every practice and in every game, strive to be a TVL all-star and to win our team’s offensive lineman award.’’
Hundertmark rates Bellingham and Norton as teams that’ll finish high in the Tri Valley League standings. “Bellingham is young and talented while Norton, which beat us last year, is a traditionally strong program.’’
A National Honor Society student, Hundertmark will play football at Western New England College in Springfield next fall. He’ll major in actuarial science, which could lead to a career in the insurance business.
“The biggest transition to college football will be time management and the physical nature of the game,’’ he said. “It’ll be a priority to manage my time wisely and it’s obvious that the college game will be more physical. I’ll be competing for a roster spot with players who were all-star choices and battling opponents who were all-league.’’
Calling his parents (Craig and Lisa) role models for their support and encouragement, Hundertmark relies on a competitive philosophy that focuses on winning, reaching his potential and having fun. He values football for the life lessons that can be learned.
“Football helps you to listen and take advice,’’ he noted. “It sharpens one’s leadership ability, helps you to be a good teammate and definitely teaches how to overcome adversity. When I was injured my sophomore year, that was a lesson in overcoming adversity.’’
Max Hundertmark may not get much notice or publicity playing center but his dedication to football and academics makes him a vital and valuable cog for the Mustangs.