Medway’s Plunkett Will Play Football At WPI

KEN HAMWEY, Staff Sports Writer
Four-Time Tri Valley League MVP
Drew Plunkett was a multi-talented point guard for Medway's basketball team. Submitted photo.
Issue Date: 
May, 2020
Article Body: 

Drew Plunkett is a classic example of what can happen if a student-athlete works diligently every day to sharpen his skills in athletics and academics.
The 5-foot-7, 175-pound Plunkett is far from overpowering but the Medway High senior was a four-time MVP in the Tri Valley League and a four-time Mustang captain (twice in football and twice in basketball). He’s also a National Honor Society student who’s on his way to Worcester Polytech to study engineering management and to play football.
The soft-spoken Plunkett is a rare-breed mix — he knows the value of hard work and the results it produces; he’s delighted when a teammate excels; he understands fully that perseverance trumps entitlement; and he’s acutely aware that leadership by example can be inspiring.
His two coaches at Medway — Anthony Mazzola (football) and Eric Copeland (basketball) — put Plunkett’s character and humility on par with his athletic ability.
“Drew is the all-American kid,’’ Mazzola said. “He’s a great person, great athlete and great student. He’s also kind-hearted and humble. If he were 6-2 or 6-3, he’d be a Division 1 college quarterback. He’ll do well at WPI. He’s the best player I’ve ever coached, and I was blessed to have him for a year.’’
Copeland, who coached Plunkett for 2½ seasons, labels him “a super selfless kid.’’
“Drew’s stats aren’t prolific, because he’s a pass-first point guard,’’ Copeland said. “His leadership was crucial, because he ran the team both offensively and defensively. A great leader, his teammates follow him. He works for everything he gets, and he doesn’t expect the rules to favor him. He was fun to coach and fun to be around.’’
Plunkett’s statistics during his senior year on the gridiron produced a 57 percent completion record (81 for 143), 17 TD passes, 1,482 yards passing and six interceptions. His rushing stats included 148 carries, 951 yards gained, 11 TDs and one fumble. His basketball averages last winter were 14 points, 3.3 assists, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals.
Plunkett’s deliberate style kept the Mustangs in many games in both sports. “I’d like to think my strengths are good instincts, a high athletic IQ, solid decision-making, and strong leadership,’’ he said.
When the football team played Falmouth last fall in a game Medway won, 61-53, he was involved in seven of the eight TDs. He passed for three scores and ran for four more. “Drew was more calm than all of the coaches,’’ Mazzola emphasized.
Plunkett has had his share of thrills in the two sports during his seven varsity seasons. He sparked the football team to a TVL Small Division title his junior year (10-1 record) and split a pair of playoff games that season.
His top thrill in football wasn’t the MVP honors. Far from it.
“Those awards are nice, but all the credit for being MVP goes to my teammates,’’ he emphasized. “I worked hard, but I couldn’t achieve those honors without my teammates. My top thrill in football came as a freshman. Nick Sheehan, my best friend, and I were called up to the varsity. Nick handled kickoff returns, and I was the punt returner. We played Holliston at home and trailed, 7-0. They kicked off after taking the lead and Nick returned the ball 80 yards for a touchdown. Holliston won, 21-7, when the game was called because of thunder and lightning. It was a thrill to see Nick get that TD.’’
Plunkett played in three post-season tournaments in basketball. His most memorable thoughts — as a sophomore and junior — dealt with qualifying for the playoffs and capturing a TVL title.
Plunkett showed his classy side at Medway’s senior night this year. Instead of starting, he suggested to Copeland that two other seniors start, since they never enjoyed that experience. “It was the right thing to do,” he said.
Plunkett chose WPI over Hamilton, Tufts and Franklin & Marshall. “I visited WPI and liked the closed-community atmosphere,’’ he said. “I also liked the coaching staff and the players. I don’t see myself starting as a freshman, but I feel I can play Division 3 football.’’
So do the WPI coaches. “Head coach Chris Robertson and QB coach Matt Kelly saw my highlight films and watched me at camps,’’ Plunkett said. “Coach Kelly visited me at Medway High and let me know the program was interested in me.’’
Plunkett knows he needs to adjust and improve to play Division 3 college ball. “The college game will be faster, and the competition will be more talented,’’ he said. Plunkett’s spring will, for the first time in his career, include varsity baseball if the MIAA doesn’t cancel spring sports because of the Covid-19 virus. His summer will be all about throwing a football and physical workouts.
Plunkett has lots of people in his life who’ve provided top-quality advice and direction. He admires Copeland, whom he’s known since his freshman year. “His motivating style is special,’’ Plunkett noted. “I’m also thankful for my parents, (Cheryll and Derek), because of their support and encouragement.’’ Plunkett rates all his teammates as “top-notch.”
His athletic philosophy focuses on winning, but he maintains that having fun and reaching one’s potential are linked to success. “There’s life lessons to be learned in sports, and for me it’s perseverance, mental toughness, leadership and being team-oriented,’’ he said.
Plunkett says he wouldn’t change anything about his Medway career. “My high school experience has been a blessing,’’ he emphasized. “I’ll miss teammates and classmates, but I’m excited about the next chapter of my life.’’