The Winthrop Vikings overcame a short practice week and a tough road game at Weston last Thursday night, in a 28-6 win as they finished up their non-league schedule with a 2-3 record.
â€œIt was a good night for us,â€ said head coach Sean Driscoll. â€œI though we played well and with the short practice week because of the Thursday game, I was very happy with the way the team handled things.â€
The Vikings generated 278 yards of total offense, including 229 yards rushing as senior Mitchell Paulson (10 carries for 89 yards) and junior Jordan Corbett Franks (17 carries 103 yards) did the bulk of the work for the Winthrop offense.
â€œI really think they (Paulson and Corbett-Frank) are turning into one of the premier running back tandems in our league,â€ said Driscoll. â€œEach week, as the team improves, you can see the way they are doing their jobs. Paulson has really turned into a well-rounded player on both sides of the ball and Corbett-Frank skills give us a nice 1-2 punch.â€
Paulson and Corbett-Frank may have done the bulk of the work toting the ball, but at least on this night the accolades belong to senior Bo Diaz, who returned after several weeks out recovering from an injury to score twice for the Vikings, first on defense, with a 20-yard pick six on Wildcat quarterback Jarett Rowe. The score gave the Vikings a 14-0 first quarter lead, and command of the game.
â€œWe came out, won the coin toss and scored on our first drive, which is actually something weâ€™ve done a lot of this year,â€ said Driscoll. â€œBut the difference this time was that on the ensuing kickoff, we pinned them deep and then Bo (Diaz) for that interception and return for a touchdown that really put is in the driverâ€™s seat.â€
The Vikings first touchdown was on a rushing score from senior fullback Phil LoCigno, who carried the ball seven times for 25 yards in the game.
Paulson then added a second quarter touchdown helping to send the Vikings into halftime with a 21-0 lead. The Wildcats came out strong to start the second half and scored on their first possession of the half to close the gap to 21-6. However, Diaz, who also played on offense as a receiver, pulled in a 10 yard pass from senior Jimmy Barker to make it 28-6 in the fourth quarter and kill Westonâ€™s hopes for a comeback. Barker completed two of five passes for 49 yards and the score and also rushed five times for 17 yards.
Quinton Dale made all four extra point attempts and has not connected on 12 of 12 EP attempts on the season.
â€œWe also got offensive guard David Gallo back from an injury he suffered in week one and he had a good game for us,â€ said Driscoll. â€œWe did suffer an injury this week, with Phil LoCigno going down with an ankle injury and weâ€™re not sure if heâ€™ll be able to play this week at Saugus.â€
With the Weston game in the books, the Vikings now prepare to head into the division schedule and will Saturday at 1 p.m. (in a game re-scheduled from 2 p.m.) against their old NEC opponent.
â€œSaugus is one of the few teams in our division this year, that weâ€™ve played against in the past,â€ said Driscoll. â€œThey beat us at our home field last year, they had a solid running attack in that game, and are coming off an impressive win at Georgetown last week.â€
Saugus will enter the game with a 1-4 record, but similar to Winthrop has played an extremely tough non-league schedule featuring many of their former NEC opponents.
â€œThey run a Navy style, triple option offense and if youâ€™re not disciplined on defense they can hurt you,â€ said Driscoll. â€œThese are the games that we really need to be at our best, if we want to have a chance at the post-season.â€