When Cadence Chase was just a baby, Derek Almeida '98, a family friend, gave him his first football. Little did either know that several years later, they would team up to turn around the football program at Fairhaven High and Chase would be rewarded as the 2021-22 Otto Graham Award winner.
Chase became the first player from Fairhaven High to receive the prestigious award since Nate Pickup in 1992 on Tuesday night during a ceremony held at GNB Voc-Tech.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Almeida, Fairhaven’s head coach. “I think he’s one of the best players that has played here and I’m honored to be his coach and be a part of it. I think he’s a good representative of our school and our town. I’m really happy for him.”
Chase added, “It’s always been a thing I wanted to accomplish. It means a lot. I know it goes back several years. I’ve always thought about this as a kid playing Pop Warner.”
Chase grew up watching Fairhaven High football struggle one season after another. “Growing up I used to go to all those games,” he said. “We were never really that good. That’s probably one of the reasons why it prompted me to go to another school.”