North Reading High School Senior John Fortes, an offensive and defensive lineman on the varsity football team, won three awards at the end of season banquet Sunday night, and was a strong leader on the football team for the last four years, according to Athletic Director Dave Johnson.
Fortes started playing football when he was nine-years-old. His father encouraged him to sign up, and he fell in love with the game.
He made the Varsity football team his freshman year of high school and was a captain this past season. He thought his season started off "a little slow, but I picked it up" and improved each week.
"Every week I worked harder and it just showed and our team ended up doing better, too," he said.
Johnson said when Fortes had an opportunity, he "seized the moment" and used it as an opportunity to accelerate his class.
Throughout his first two years with the Hornets they had about three wins combined, he said. Last year they won seven games and lost three. This past season, their record was 8-2.
"He led by example from workouts to everything that had to be done during the year and he turned it into an atmosphere of success and winning," Johnson said.
The senior players are the best North Reading has seen in a long time, Fortes said. He hopes the team will be able to keep the winnig streak going next season.
"If they follow what we set for them, they will be alright," he said.
Fortes was honored to receive the John Norton Scholarship Award for $500. The award is normally given to a member who gives back to the community, he said. To give back to North Reading, he coaches youth football and basketball.
"I just try to help out," he said.
He also won the All League Award for the Cape Ann League and the Defensive Player of the Game Award for Thanksgiving Day Game.
When asked what he loves about football, Fortes said, "I think it's just the team camaraderie and I just like being together everyday and being able to enjoy some success and failures with your friends and it's overall a great team sport."
Fortes plans to play football in college and has been contacted by several scouts already from Endicott, Springfield, UMASS Amherst, Assumption and more.