Stoneham, Abington advance in high school football playoffs
All season long Christos Argyropoulos has dominated the headlines and rightly so. But Thursday night in the Division 6 North semifinals, Stoneham junior Seth Russell grabbed the spotlight, scoring four touchdowns and running for 137 yards in a 48-20 win over visiting Bishop Fenwick.
Stoneham (9-0) advances to the Division 6 North final and will play the winner of Saturday’s other semifinal between Hamilton-Wenham and Northeast Regional.
“They were really overplaying to Christos’s side, trying to stop Christos, which I would too,” said Stoneham coach Bob Almeida. “Seth Russell had a huge game. It just kind of opened things up for him.”
With Stoneham ahead, 8-7, after 11 minutes, Russell took over in the second quarter as Stoneham outscored Fenwick, 26-0. He started with a 15-yard touchdown run before adding a 46-yard score and finally a 1-yard touchdown. Bishop Fenwick (7-2) went from being in a competitive game after one quarter to being down, 34-7, at the half. Russell ran for 99 yards in the half. Argyropoulos added the fourth touchdown of the quarter on a 14-yard run.
Russell kept it up in the third quarter, scoring his fourth touchdown and 15th of the season. When Argyropoulos scored his second touchdown of the game and 24th of the season to make it 48-7, Fenwick was done.
Stoneham ran 40 offensive plays in the game, all but one a run. The lone pass went for 65 yards from quarterback Deshaun Chase to Kevin McShane and set up Russell’s 1-yard score.
Fenwick’s first points came on a 17-yard Cory Bright to Joe Rivers pass. The last came with under a minute to play when Bright hit Stefano Fabiano from 9 yards out. It was Bright’s 13th TD pass of the season. But by then, Stoneham was looking ahead to the North final.
Division 7 South
Abington 36, Nantucket 14 — When visiting Nantucket scored less than three minutes into Thursday’s D7 South semifinal, the host Green Wave never panicked.
Instead, the Abington offense marched 89 yards in three plays to take a lead it would never relinquish during a 22-point first-quarter outburst.
“I thought the kids did a nice job in the first half,” said Abington coach Jim Kelliher. “They followed the script and I credit the kids with their resilience.”
In a first quarter not lacking in big plays from Abington on both sides of the ball, the Green Wave needed just 10 plays to score three times, headlined by a 73-yard touchdown run by Colin Leary for the first score.
Following Nantucket’s 54-yard opening drive, the Whalers managed just 5 yards the rest of the quarter. On Nantucket’s second possession, sophomore quarterback Malique Bodden had his first attempt picked off by Colby Augusta, a junior who has four interceptions in two playoff games.
One play later, junior Will Klein pounded in an 8-yard rush to extend the lead.
“I think it turned the momentum around towards us,” said Klein. “For the rest of the night we were just all over them and we knew we had to step up.”
Aside from Augusta, the Abington defensive front, led by Gabe Spry and Dylan Magararu limited Nantucket’s leading rusher, Devonte Usher, to 32 yards. Torane Burton, playing in his second game of the year, chruned out 98 yards and both scores.
“They got three good running backs,” said Kelliher. “We were worried about it and the only thing we said to the kids is ‘just play your position’ and if they get to the outside it can be some big time damage. Sometimes it was tonight but overall we contained it.”
With the first quarter winding down, Klein again found paydirt, hauling in a 13-yard catch from Christian Labossier — just three plays after a 38-yard diving grab by Klein. He finished with 136 all-purpose yards and a pair of touchdowns along with two conversions.
The victory sets up a South Shore League rematch against either Mashpee or Cohasset.
“I’m excited that our league is represented in the final,” said Kelliher. “But we’re going to come after them, we want to win just like they want.”