Does the Winthrop football team face an uphill battle every year as the smallest school in the Northeastern Conference? Yes. Has it overachieved by being a contender nearly every year under the leadership of previous coaches Robert DeFelice and Tony Fucillo, and now Sean Driscoll, who’s doing a great job so far. Yes.
But do long-time Winthrop High fans and former and present players want to see the Northeastern Conference be dissolved so that Winthrop can play schools of similar size and be forced to travel longer distances for Friday night games?
We don’t need a revised football alignment to prove that Winthrop has been one of the best “small school” programs in Massachusetts for probably 50 years.
That’s why Principal Gail Conlon made the right choice when she voted against the MIAA Football Committee’s proposal to end the league system and put teams into various divisions, regardless of geographical location.
So let’s play the Gloucesters and the Lynns and the Salems and the Beverlys, like our fathers and grandfathers did, and show that Winthrop football is strong no matter the size of the opponent’s school.
Do you really want to travel to Ipswich on a Friday night when you can go a few miles further and take on Gloucester in front of thousands of fans at Newell Stadium — and beat the Fightin’ Fisherman in a game you’ll remember for a lifetime?
When Matt Murray, Phil and Robert Hamilton, James Fucillo, Jason Griffin and their Winthrop mates beat Gloucester on their way to a perfect Super Bowl championship season, it was a win for the ages.
There’s something to be said for tradition and rivalries and we like the Northeastern Conference just the way it is.