FOXBOROUGH -- Last December, Gillette Stadium provided the setting for the Mashpee High Falcons' football program to make history. This afternoon, during the Patriots' joint practice with the New Orleans Saints, the Falcons returned the favor.
The team presented Patriots owner Robert Kraft with one of their own 2011 MIAA Super Bowl Championship rings, with the initials "MHK" engraved in it, in honor of Kraft's late wife Myra. The graduated stars of the Falcons' 2011 squad -- quarterback Zak Orcutt, running back Jordan Keli'inui and lineman Graham Kilpatrick -- were on hand for the presentation between the two practice fields behind Gillette, along with head coach Matt Triveri, his assistants, and musician Jon Bon Jovi (already there as a friend of the Krafts and Bill Belichick).
Last December, the Falcons captured their first MIAA Super Bowl championship in school history, pounding Cardinal Spellman 34-8 for the Division 4 title. Running back Jared Taylor also set a stadium record for most rushing yards in a single game, at any level, carving up the Cardinals for 308 yards and three scores.
There are several connections between the Krafts and Mashpee. They have owned property on Popponesset Island for more than four decades. In 1999, they donated $500,000 to the fledgling Boys and Girls Club of Cape Cod, and still routinely check in. In 2006, they donated another $100,000 for the construction of the Community Health Center of Cape Cod.
Triveri said it was a combination of these things that led to the donation, but also "to say thanks for the experience, because we were so blown away by our experience there."
The ring presentation was primarily the work of Mashpee assistant coach Mike Mullen, a former tight end at Wake Forest from 1978-81, who felt it the honorable thing to do given the Krafts' repeated contributions to the town of Mashpee.
"Once we knew what we were doing, we were going to get them [the rings] for the kids, we decided pretty quickly that we wanted to include Mr. Kraft, as far as giving him one," Mullen said. "He's been very generous to the town of Mashpee. It was an easy decision."