New England Patriots Super Bowl Champs

A glimpse into High School Brady

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John Kirby played wide receiver for Junipero Serra High School (San Mateo, Calif.) from 1992 to 1994 and he caught passes from Patriots QB Tom Brady during those years.

He became Brady’s favorite target their senior season, catching  42 passes from Brady.

It’s still surreal to him to hear and watch Brady on TV on Sundays leading the New England Patriots to countless wins. When Brady yells out an audible it sends him back to the high school days.

“Sometimes I’ll hear his cadence – ‘Red 80, Red 80’ – and it will bring me right back to the field, right back to high school,” Kirby told Max

“I hear him audible and it reminds me of our own little code we started on the JV team,” Kirby said. “When he saw a DB playing too tight, Tom would pull on his face mask and it would change a short route into a streak. I can still feel that anxious feeling when he did it because I knew the ball would be coming to me and he’d put it right on the money. And he did time after time. Just like he does now. … Everything you see and hear now is what we saw and heard in high school. It’s just kind of surreal to see it now on TV. To see it on such a gigantic stage.”

They knew Brady was a great player during high school but they could have never predicted this.

“But who could have predicted this?” Serra athletic director Kevin Donahue said. “Certainly, he was destined for success. He was the All-American boy. Down to earth. Well grounded. But how in the world can you predict someone will be one of the greatest of all time at anything?”

Since 1979, Donahue been the AD at Serra, which has also produced NFL Hall of Famer Lynn Swann and home run king Barry Bonds.

Donahue thought Brady would end up a hall of fame baseball player not football player.

“I expected him to be a good college quarterback but if anything I thought he’d be a major league baseball player,” Kirby said. “He was known as a baseball player.”

When Brady was a kid he was better known for being the little brother of softball star Maureen an All-American softball pitcher for Hillsdale High who later played at Fresno State.

“From what I recall, a driving force for Tom was to not be known simply as Maureen’s little brother,” assistant football coach Dean Ayoob said.

Serra varsity coach Tom MacKenzie said Brady didn’t stand out too much when he tried out for the  freshman team. Brady became the backup QB on an 0 – 8 team.

“I think he got into a play or two as an outside linebacker,” then Serra varsity coach Tom MacKenzie said. “Honestly, I barely remembered his name back then. He was sort of a face in the crowd.”

But Brady would grab MacKenzie full attention the next year once he saw Brady’s strong arm.

“He was really adept at throwing the fade pattern,” MacKenzie said. “Right on the money. It was God given. In 31 years of coaching I’d never seen someone able to throw like Tom Brady. He was our future, someone we needed to develop and cultivate.”

In Brady’s first game he did something we are quite use to seeing now – lead a comeback.

“His first-game ever, we’re down five with two minutes to go and he led us on a game-winning drive,” Kirby said. “It was awesome. It’s just like he does all the time now. Whenever he was in the huddle, he always seemed in control. He never panicked. He was always motivational, not negative. If we were way down he’d say, ‘C’mon, let’s get this going.’ He never yelled or blamed.”

Doesn’t seem like Brady has changed much from his high school days!

Read the full interview HERE. 

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