The Winthrop Vikings got off on the wrong foot last Friday night at Miller Field as standout kicker Quinton Dale had a rare misstep, missing the opening kickoff and giving the Amesbury Indians the ball at Winthrop 40 to start the game.
Despite Amesbury turning that drive start into an opening touchdown, the Vikings survived the Amesbury onslaught, and went on to win the game 14-12 in overtime.
“Quinton had a tough night,” said head coach Driscoll. “On that opening kickoff, his feet just got tangled up and when he went to kick the ball, he just missed. It put un in a tough spot to open the game, but we still have all the faith in the world in him as our kicker.”
After the opening score by Amesbury, Winthrop was able to block the extra point try by Amesbury, but continued to struggle throughout the half and the team headed to the locker room with Winthrop trailing 6-0 at the half.
“In the second half we got ourselves together a little bit and started moving the ball, but we still had some challenges,” said Driscoll. “Amesbury is a very good team they’re well coached and they gave us a handful on Friday night. I still think we’re lucky to have gotten away with the win.”
The Vikings finally broke through and scored in the third quarter on a nine-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Jimmy Barker to receiver Jake McKinnon. However, the normally automatic Dale had his second miscue of the night and the extra point attempt failed, leaving the team’s tied 6-6 at the end of regulation. Barker finished six of 19 on pass tempts for just 32 yards and the touchdown, as well as 34 yards on seven rushing attempts and the game-winning score in OT.
McKinnon had four of those six completions for 32 yards.
“One of the real positives for us on Friday night was our ability to put bad offensive possessions behind us and play well on defense,” added Driscoll.
The Vikings, who had more than a few three and outs on offense Friday, continually rallied to force Amesbury into punt situations as well, giving themselves an opportunity to get their offense straightened out.
In overtime, Winthrop took all four downs to move the ball from the Amesbury 10-yard line into the end zone, but got the touchdown on a two-yard rush by Barker, that was capped by a successful two-point conversion rush by sophomore running back Jordan Corbett-Frank. Corbett-Frank had a team leading 123 yards on 22 rushes during the game.
Next up for Winthrop is a trip to Byfield to take on Triton Regional High School, in the Vikings’ last road game of the season. The win over Amesbury makes Winthrop 3-0 in the division and all alone by a half-game over Newburyport.
“The biggest challenge, as a coach, this week is getting the team to focus on the game at Triton,” said Driscoll. “People around town are already talking about the match-up with Newburyport at Miller Field (in tow weeks), which will be for the division championship. However, we have to focus on this game first and try to win at Triton, that is our challenge this week.”