“This was a big, big game, and big win for our program,” said head coach Sean Driscoll after the Winthrop Vikings finished off what was perhaps their biggest win of the last three years, 16-6 over the Lynn Classical Rams.
“Lynn Classical is a very good team, they are going to challenge for the lead in the Large Division, so I was very impressed with the way we played,” added Driscoll. “I thought our team played big, our younger kids did a good job of filling in for some of the veterans that we are missing right now and I was very proud of the way we played, especially on defense.”
Junior running back Nick McCarthy, who had been stymied by Lynn English and Gloucester after having a big game to open the season against Salem, had another big game for the Vikings and showed that he loves running at home, as he ripped off 153 yards on 25 carries and scored one touchdown.
“I thought our best defensive player was sophomore linebacker Jimmy Barker, who had 11 tackles, including two for a loss, caused a fumble and recovered another fumble that set up our final score,” said Driscoll. “He was our Black Shirt Award winner this week, filling in for our injured captain, senior Frank Ambrosino.”
Driscoll also credited the work put in by the team’s defensive line, Nick Doonan, Anthony Spinnazola, Anthony Hatzisavas and Keith Stasio, for controlling the line of scrimmage and disrupting the Rams’ offense.”
“They were really the stars of the game,” he said.
A key part of the game came early in the third quarter, with the Vikings leading 7-6. The Rams took the field to open the second half trailing, but they were receiving the ball to start the half.
Winthrop, wanting to make a statement early, shut the Rams’ attack down, forcing a three and out by the visitors.
Then on their first play from scrimmage in the second half, the Vikings scored on a long run by McCarthy, pushing the lead to 13-6 and setting the tone for the rest of the game. The Vikings were not going to give the Rams an inch, much less any serious yardage.
As a team, the Vikings ran the ball 40 times in the game for 140 yards.
Senior quarterback Will Milano had the Vikings’ other score on a short running play in the first quarter. Milano was also six of nine passing for 83 yards.
However, not all of the news was good after the game. The team’s leading receiver, Robert Deeb, who had three catches for 40 yards in the game, was injured on a sideline play in the third quarter. Deeb suffered a shoulder separation and could be out for four to six weeks, putting the remainder of his season in jeopardy as well.
On the season, Deeb has the Vikings’ only two receiving touchdowns, meaning that his absence for the next four to six weeks could leave a hole in the Vikings’ aerial attack.
“Robert was having a very good season for us, no doubt about it,” said Driscoll. “His loss does hurt some of the things that we’ve tried to do, but we’re hopeful that he will be back before the end of the season. We’ll see how it works out.”
Injuries have been a curse for the Vikings so far this season, as at least six different players have missed time or are recuperating now from injuries so far, including several key players and senior leaders.
Next up for the Vikings will be three road games. Next week they finish their non-division schedule with a trip to Peabody on Friday night.
“Winthrop hasn’t played Peabody in 30 years,” noted Driscoll. “They are a big division school, they have a lot of size and real nice running back, and so we will have our work cut out for us.”
Following the Peabody game, the Vikings will open their divisional schedule with a Saturday morning trip to Saugus on October 17 and then they will play at the Beverly Panthers on Saturday, October 24.
McCarthy leads all Vikings’ rushers with 435 yards and four touchdowns on 75 carries this year. Curtis Strangie is second on the team in rushing with 65 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries and Milano has chipped in two rushing scores, although he has recorded negative 28 yards on 20 carries overall.
Others rushing the ball for the Vikings this season include Ambrosino who had four rushes for 20 yards before being injured, J.P. Doherty who has rushed 14times for 18 yards and Joe Clougherty who has rushed six times for 14 yards.
As mentioned above, Deeb leads all receivers with 215 yards and two touchdowns on 11 catches. McCarthy also has 11 catches, totaling more than 95 yards, while Doherty has added two catches for 32 yards.
Milano is 24 of 45 passing for 356 yards, with two touchdowns passing.
McCarthy has also chipped in with two returns for touchdowns and Milano has contributed to the Vikings attack with three pint after kicks, one two-point conversion run and one field goal.