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Nipmuc Seeks Fast Start in Super Bowl

Shown after their semifinal victory, the Nipmuc Regional High School football team will play Scituate in the Massachusetts Championship Game for Division 5 on Saturday, December 1 at 1:30 p.m. at Gillette Stadium, Foxboro. Nipmuc photo

The Nipmuc football team will have a chance to win a state championship on Saturday afternoon at Gillette Stadium, and head coach Shawn Hill said the Warriors will need to get over the grand setting in a hurry if they are going to beat a strong Scituate squad.
"You better settle in quick, you can't fool around, they are too good," Hill said. "Scituate is outstanding, they are strong in all three phases. They are really good and they are on a very good roll right now."
The Sailors come in to Saturday's 1:30 p.m. kickoff with a 12-1 record and having won 11 games in a row, most recently a Thanksgiving Day triumph over Hingham. Hill said his team, which is 10-1 and has won eight straight, will need to focus on the little things for a big result. "We can't make mental errors, we can't blow coverages or blow assignments or not hold onto the football game," he said. "It's one of those things that is important early in the game when you're trying to get the kinks out and the nerves out."
Hill downplayed the scene, the home of the New England Patriots, saying it's no different than any other neutral site game. "It's still a football field," he said, sounding like Gene Hackman in the movie Hooisers.
The Warriors advanced to the Super Bowl after a 24-9 win over Longmeadow in the state semifinal. Richie Broni rushed for 131 yards behind a strong performance for a healthy offensive line. Hill said it was the second week in a row his team has won the line of scrimmage after beating Northbridge to win the Central Mass. title. Broni rushed for a pair of touchdowns and Nate Gould added a 20-yard field goal and brought a kickoff back for a touchdown.
The successful season led to some accolades for Hill, who was named the New England Patriots' Coach of the Week and had a certificate presented to him by former Pats' great Andre Tippett.
"It was very awkward for me, although I do appreciate it very much," Hill said. "The kids win the game. It's a team sport, we are all in this together."
Hill said Saturday's game is "gravy" for him and the team has been able to fulfill all of his expectations and then some, but he recognizes the importance of this game for his players and the program.
"This is what every kid dreams about, winning the state championship," he said. "All I try to do is coach the team the best I can and the players have to take it from there."




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