The senior leaders of the Winthrop Vikings football team have a message for their friends, family, fans and supporters: they know how important this Thursdayâ€™s game is.
â€œThis is an important game for the entire community,â€ said senior captain and running back Nick McCarthy.
â€œWe want to finish strong,â€ added senior captain and lineman Nick Doonan. â€œThanksgiving Day is the biggest game of the year for us, every year. But especially this year, this one game can wipe away the disappointment of the rest of the season. Winning this game is a requirement for Winthrop football players.â€
Head coach Sean Driscoll, who has both coached in and played in this rivalry game during his career at Winthrop, said he understands the excitement of his team.
â€œThis game brings the whole community together,â€ said Driscoll. â€œThe rivalry with Revere goes back a long way and as weâ€™ve been telling the kids this week, this is the game youâ€™ll look back on and remember winning. Itâ€™s a special day, a family day and I still get the same feeling today as a coach, as I did when I was playing in the game.â€
Not that Winthrop is taking its opponent lightly. Winthrop may have an active winning streak over Revere dating to 2001, when they lost the game on the field but had the win turned over to them in a forfeit because Revere used an ineligible player, but they insist they got the win streak by being prepared for a worthy opponent, not because they are better than Revere.
â€œThey have a good team this year,â€ explained Doonan. â€œTheyâ€™re backfield is very dangerous, with two strong running backs and a pretty good quarterback. We have to be ready to stop them, because they can score a lot of points.â€
Added Driscoll, â€œI feel that their quarterback (senior Paul Norton) is very underrated, he throws the ball really well and I think heâ€™s a weapon that theyâ€™re going to try and exploit against us.â€
Joining Norton in the backfield are senior running backs Trae Weathers and Quintin Wesley, who have combined for more than 200 points this season for Revere. Weathers has been the workhorse, playing every game and amassing 167 total points, while Wesley battled a pre-season injury early, but returned down the stretch to give Revere a balanced one-two rushing attack.
McCarthy said the key to stopping the Revere attack is easier said than done.
â€œWe have to tackle them,â€ said McCarthy, a tall order for a team that, at times this season, has struggled to contain powerful running backs.
Senior captain Joe Boudrow knows about injuries himself, having only played in five games this season, after missing all of last year with an injury.
â€œI played against Revere two years ago as a sophomore and I can remember that we felt pretty good being able to go in there and win that game there,â€ said Boudrow. â€œBut I also remember that we had to come back and win that game at the end.â€
â€œI think having Joe (Boudrow) on the field starting at linebacker for us is going to be huge,â€ said Driscoll. â€œHeâ€™s really a tough player that will keep us motivated and focused.â€
Plus, his drive to come back and battle through the injuries is something that the rest of the team can feed off of.â€
Other seniors who will be playing in their final game on Thursday are Jake Adelstein, Nick Beaudry, Mike Caputo, Joe Clougherty, Paul Correale, Alex Dalton, JP Doherty, Rich Ferrino, Anthony Hatzisavas, Joe Mazzuchelli, and Chris Strangie.