Foxborough, Mass. - Following a 24-9 win over Longmeadow to advance to the MIAA Division 5 State Championship, Nipmuc Regional head coach Shawn Hill has been named this week's New England Patriots High School Coach of the Week.
Nipmuc took a 10-0 lead into halftime after a first-half performance that was highlighted by an 18-play, 80-yard drive lasting nine minutes and capped by a 5-yard touchdown run by junior running back Richard Broni. Longmeadow scored the lone points of the third quarter on a 64-yard touchdown pass, but Nipmuc entered the final frame with a 10-6 lead. On their next possession, Nipmuc once again controlled the ball, putting together a 12-play fourth quarter drive that ended with another Broni score to push the lead to 17-6. The Warrior defense held Longmeadow to a field goal and Nathanial Gould recovered the ensuing onside kick and took it back 55 yards for a touchdown to cement Nipmuc's title game berth. Broni led the way for the Warriors, carrying the ball 26 times for 159 yards and both Nipmuc offensive touchdowns.
The win gives the Warriors their first ever MIAA State Championship appearance after they were eliminated in the state semifinal each of the previous two seasons. Nipmuc will play Scituate at Gillette Stadium on Dec. 1 at 1:30 p.m. for the Division 5 state title.
Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett, now the team's executive director of community affairs, visited the Nipmuc players and coaching staff Tuesday afternoon to present the football program with a $1,000 donation on behalf of the New England Patriots Foundation, in honor of Coach Hill. 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 23rd year in which the Patriots have 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 2018 season marks the eighth year that Tippett has taken the award on the road to visit the schools that benefit from the program.
"Congratulations to Coach Hill and the Nipmuc football program on advancing to their first ever state championship game," Tippett said. "The Warriors had a strong showing in all three phases in their win over Longmeadow and we wish them the best of luck in the championship game."
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 an additional $2,000 contribution towards the school's football program.
For the eighth 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. All nominations must be submitted following a team's Friday night or Saturday afternoon game to be considered for that week's Coach of the Week award.
The New England Patriots 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.