Foxborough, Mass. –With a go-ahead touchdown in the final minute of the North Division 6 championship game, the Stoneham Spartans clinched a 20-18 playoff victory over top-seeded Hamilton-Wenham on Saturday, and head coach Bob Almeida has been named this week's New England Patriots High School Coach of the Week. It is Almeida's second time to be recognized with this honor.
Stoneham controlled the game early, earning a 6-0 halftime lead and scoring again on the first possession of the second half. However, Hamilton-Wenham used a change at quarterback to spark momentum for the Generals in the third quarter and scored on back-to-back drives after recovering an onside kick to narrow the score to 14-12. With 6:36 remaining in the game, Hamilton-Wenham took its first lead of the day on a 55-yard touchdown pass. But, with its season on the line, the Spartans responded with a 15-play, 63-yard drive, powered by the running back duo of Tre Pignone and Christos Argyropoulos. With 28 seconds on the clock, Argyropoulos punched in a one-yard run for the go-ahead score. With the win, the Spartans advance to their second Final Four in the last three seasons. They will play Middleboro in the Division 6 State semifinals on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The winner of that game will take on Littleton High School at Gillette Stadium in the MIAA Division 6 Super Bowl on Saturday, Dec 2.
Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett, now the team's executive director of community affairs, visited the Spartans players and coaching staff Tuesday afternoon to present Stoneham High School's football program with a $1,000 donation on behalf of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, in honor of Coach Almeida. 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.
"Coach Almeida has done a terrific job directing the program at Stoneham, and last week's thrilling victory was another example of that," Tippett said. "His Spartans came together as a team to overcome adversity and battle until the final seconds on the clock, which points to his leadership and the mental toughness he has imparted to his players. Congratulations to Coach Almeida and the Spartans for their exciting win, and we wish them continued success in the playoffs."
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.
Gatorade, a proud partner of the Patriots, is proud to support local High School Athletics. Gatorade will provide each week the Patriots Coach of the Week with complimentary product to keep his team hydrated for the rest of the season.