Foxborough, Mass. - After leading Hopkinton High School to a perfect 7-0 season and the school's first Tri-Valley League Championship since 2005, Hillers head coach Jim Girard has been named this week's New England Patriots High School Coach of the Week.
Coach Girard, in his eighth year at the helm, directed Hopkinton to a 12-8 win over Holliston last week, marking the team's first win over the Panthers since 2008. The Hillers took a first-half lead with a 10-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Kelleher to receiver Will Abbott, and later added a 23-yard field goal off the foot of Robbie Pagliuca. Holliston looked to make a comeback with a touchdown and two-point conversion in the third quarter, but a strong defensive effort by the Hillers, including a safety in the fourth quarter, kept Hopkinton in control. The win over the Panthers concluded a noteworthy regular season for Hopkinton, which included shutout wins over Medway (42-0), Bishop Feehan (14-0) and Norton (27-0), in addition to victories over Wayland, Medfield and Westwood. The Hillers will seek to continue their undefeated season with a first-round playoff matchup at home against Pembroke this Friday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m.
Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett, now the team's executive director of community affairs, visited the Hillers players and coaching staff Tuesday afternoon to present Hopkinton High School's football program with a $1,000 donation on behalf of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, in honor of Coach Girard. The visit and check presentation will be featured on the Patriots weekly television show, "Patriots All Access," which airs on Friday night at 7 p.m. on WBZ-TV in Boston and will be available immediately after on Patriots.com.
This is the 22nd year in which the Patriots joined the National Football League in conducting the High School Coach of the Week program, which recognizes outstanding high school coaches and promotes youth football throughout New England. The 2017 season marks the seventh year that Tippett has taken the award on the road to visit the schools that benefit from the program.
"What an impressive season for Coach Girard and the Hillers," Tippett said. "To go undefeated in regular-season play speaks to the great preparation, attention to detail and commitment to excellence that Coach Girard has imparted to his team. We wish Hopkinton the best as they begin postseason play."
At the conclusion of the fall, one of the weekly winners will be named the New England Patriots High School Coach of the Year and will receive a $2,000 contribution towards the school's football program.
For the seventh straight year, the Patriots will also be accepting nominations for High School Coach of the Week honors. Those who wish to nominate a high school football coach in New England who leads a team to an exceptional weekly performance or reaches a personal career milestone is encouraged to send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The New England Patriots Charitable Foundation is the non-profit through which the Patriots support charitable and philanthropic organizations throughout New England. This support comes in the form of direct grants, in-kind donations and player appearances. The foundation assists a variety of charitable organizations and programs throughout New England by supporting their educational, family and health initiatives.