Abington hoped to send legendary football coach Jim Kelliher off into retirement with another state title.
But #15 Stoneham ended that dream Thursday night by intercepting a last chance pass in the end zone and securing a 22-14 upset win over #2 Abington in the Div. 6 playoff game at Memorial Field.
Kelliher instead will just have to settle for four state titles, more than 300 victories, and the intense respect of generations of players.
There were lots of tears in eyes on the Abington sideline after the loss. But not in Kelliher’s. Instead, he told reporters how proud he was of the team.
“The message to the team was that was as good an effort as you could ask for,” Kelliher said.
“That’s the way to play football right there. That’s what we believe every week. And, the younger guys, make sure you listen to this, watch this and understand what we’re talking about.”
The Green Wave recovered three fumbles, to overcome an early 6-0 deficit and take a 14-6 lead. Stoneham would score roight before the end of the 1st half, and again with about 4 minutes left in the third quarter tio take a 22-14 lead. With time running down, Abington’s defense dug in, and Nate Duggan burst through the line on 4th and 1 to sack Stoneham quarterback on 4th down.
Although Abington’s passing game was strong all night, it couldn’t break into the end zone a third time, with Reilly’s rainbow pass on 4th and 12 from the 14 yard line getting bumbled around in the end zone and eventually secured by Stoneham. A.J. Nash and Kingston Maxwell had second quarter touchdown receptions of 11 yards and 34 yards.
“I’m very proud of the kids, the way they played and how hard they played,” Kelliher said.
Abington will host Pembroke Friday in a consolation game. It will mark the final time Kelliher will stand on the Memorial Field sidelines as head coach, as Abington will travel to Whitman- Hanson for their annual Thanksgiving Day game.
GIRLS, BOYS SOCCER IN PLAYOFFS MONDAY NIGHT
Both soccer teams will make their MIAA 2023 playoff debuts Monday night. The girls team, which is making their first playoff appearance in a decade, will host Southwick Regional at 5 p.m., at the AHS turf. And the boys team is traveling to Millbury for a 6:30 tilt. Over the weekend, girls senior captain Hope Montgomery and boys senior captain Iury Cassemiro were named to their respective EMass All-Star teams.
VETERANS DAY EVENTS ON WEDNESDAY AND SATURDAY
The Town of Abington’s Annual Veterans Celebration is scheduled for Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., at the Senior Center. Event sponsors include Sarcastic Swine, Yaz’s Table, Cake Connections, Dairy Queen, South Shore Technical HIgh School, and the Veterans Kitchen out of Fall River. All Abington veterans are invited.
And on Saturday is the 70th Annual Tri-Town Veterans Day Parade. This year’s parade will take place in Rockland starting at 10 a.m. The parade route runs from the intersection of North Union Street and Summit Street and moves down Union Street.
CONGRATS ABINGTON NEWS AYS TEAMS
Abington News was a proud sponsor of two Abington Youth Soccer teams this fall: a Grades 1/2 Boys team and Grades 3/4 Girls team. We want to offer a double high five to players from both teams on a great season!
GREEN WAVE ATHLETICS
Monday, 5 p.m., vs. Southwick Regional (MIAA playoff game)
Monday, 6:30 p.m., vs. Millbury (MIAA playoff game)
Friday, 7 p.m., vs, Pembroke (MIAA consolation game)
Div. 3 State Meet @ Northfield Mountain
Regionals @ Franklin High School
Planning Board, 6 p.m., Town Hall. Agenda includes a discussion about zoning for multi family housing
Board of Health, 6:30 p.m., Town Hall. Agenda includes a discussion about tobacco sales