The first week of training camp and first completed scrimmage of the pre-season have given Winthrop high football coach Sean Driscoll something to feel good about, as he prepares his team for its first season of play in a new league.
“I think we had a real positive day Saturday, up in Gloucester,” said Driscoll. “Now, (Gloucester) is not the same team as they were last year obviously, two years of Super Bowl winners, they’re starting over a bit. However, they’re still a solid, tough team and I thought we matched up with them pretty well physically.”
Driscoll noted that Winthrop’s varsity offense scored twice against Gloucester’s first stringers Saturday and the Fishermen’s varsity managed one score against Winthrop. The JV and underclassmen played to a draw, with each team scoring once.
“I look at the scrimmage as a pretty good starting point, from which we can build,” said Driscoll. “One week into camp, I’m pretty enthusiastic with regard to the effort our players are putting forth and I’m real happy with the way our offensive and defensive lines are coming along. Their toughness really stood out on Saturday.”
Driscoll noted that the lines on both sides of the ball feature a number of juniors who have benefitted from having been pressed into action last year as sophomores.
“I think they’re experience, they played a lot last year, is definitely helping them understand what we’re trying to accomplish this year,” he added. “Now, it’s a matter of cleaning up some errors and mistakes, but I’m happy with the overall play of our team for this point in training camp.
Some players that were singled out by Driscoll for providing leadership and progressing included senior quarterback and linebacker Jimmy Barker and senior guard and linebacker Matthew Stasio.
“(Barker) had very solid scrimmage on both sides of the ball, he’s really progressing and getting better on offense and defense,” said Driscoll. “(Stasio) always seems to be doing the right things, both on and off the field to help keep the team moving forward. Fullback and linebacker Mitchell Paulson is another kid that has really grasped what we’re trying to accomplish on both sidesof the ball.”
The Vikings this week had a special teams and passing scrimmage scheduled for Wednesday against East Boston at Miller Field and will also host Malden at Miller Field for a game scrimmage on Friday.
On Labor Day the team will work out with Ipswich at Miller Field in their final pre-season scrimmage/tune-up for the regular season.
“When you practice on Labor Day, you always want to do something different to keep the kids’ energy up” said Driscoll. “It’s the first practice after training camp ends and helps get you into the season, so to break things up by working out with another team gives the team a reason to get motivated.”
Driscoll noted the scrimmage with Ipswich will likely focus on special teams and situational football, as neither team will want to give too much away before the beginning of the season.