Head coach Sean Driscoll and the Winthrop Vikings, eager to put their bitter defeat to Newburyport in the rearview mirror, this week have focused on getting back above .500 as they prepare to face off with Revere in the traditional Thanksgiving Day football game.
“All six of our seniors will start on Thursday,” explained Driscoll. “They’ve really been the veteran core of this team this year, they and some juniors who started for us last year, and they deserve to lead us out into this game.”
The six seniors Jimmy Barker, Matt Stasio, Mitchell Paulson, Phil Locigno, Quinton Dale and Mark Baxter, have all contributed to the team’s successes at times this season and according to Driscoll have provided the leadership that young team typically lack.
“Everybody who watches this team knows about Jimmy Barker and Matt Stasio, but Mitchell Paulson has been a great player for us on both sides of the ball this year and especially at outside linebacker,” said Driscoll. “Phil Locigno has been very steady for us running the ball from that wing position, Mark Baxter has stepped up to play wherever we needed him, whenever we needed just all over the field and Quinton Dale, after not having played for two years, has been a big contributor from pass catching tight end, to stalwart on special teams. . . kicking those extra points we needed to help us win games.”
Driscoll noted that like the Viking the Patriots will enter the game at Miller Field looking for that elusive sixth win that would give them a winning record for the season.
“We’re actually very similar from a statistics point of view, and both teams are coming in at 5-5, so it should be another big game,” said Driscoll, who is 3-1 against Revere in his career as head coach, after losing at Revere in overtime last year.
“Coming off of our tough loss against Newburyport, we really just want to get that taste out of our mouths and end the season on a high note,” said Driscoll. “The team has been very focused in practice the past week. They just want to make sure we get the win and end the season with a victory.”
However, Driscoll also noted that the Patriots will provide a stiff challenge for the Vikings.
“They’ve got a really explosive backfield with Drew Lauria and Tom Portrait running the ball and their quarterback, Joe Richie does a great job controlling their offense,” said Driscoll. “And, I think their best football player is Robert Sasso on defense. He’s all over the place on game films and I’ve seen him play in person a couple of times, we’re going to have to account for him on offense.”
Still, Driscoll admits the Vikings “are who we are,” and really won’t be looking to trick the Patriots during the big game.
“We want to control the line of scrimmage, we have some good backs and we want to rely on them and mix in some passes with Jimmy (Barker) running the offense for us,” said Driscoll. “We have to get after it and control the line on both sides of the ball,m that will be the key.”
The game will begin at 10 a.m. at Miller Field