The Winthrop High football team had two touch opponents in its home opener: a superb Beverly team and windy and raining conditions that made the middle of the field a quagmire.
An undermanned Winthrop team, missing three starters, stayed with Beverly for just over a half before the Panthers pulled away to a 36-8 victory.
Sophomore quarterback Dylan Driscoll connected with freshman Reise Turransky for a 24-yard touchdown late in the first half. Ruben Powell rushed for the conversion to close the gap to 14-8 and send a resurgent Winthrop to the locker room with an upset on its mind.
The Winthrop defense stopped Beverly on downs on its first possession of the second half but the Vikings couldn’t forge ahead and notch the go-ahead score. Instead the Panthers seized control of the momentum and scored three unanswered touchdowns, one an 86-yard interception return.
“I’m proud of the way our kids performed being undermanned against a very good Beverly team that may not lose a game this year,” said Winthrop coach Sean Driscoll. “I asked all week for the best effort they could, I think they gave that. For the second game in a row, we had a rough third quarter.”
Driscoll praised senior running back Bo Diaz (10 carries for 43 yards) for producing some tough yardage. Diaz continues to make improvement as one of the main options out of the Vikings’ deep backfield.
Sophomore linebacker Tyler Gillis, who is off to an impressive start for the Vikings, played well on defense, said Driscoll. Linemen Dave Gallo and Luke Hodgkins also drew high marks from the Viking coaching staff.
Winthrop plays Arlington Catholic Friday at 7 p.m. at Miller Field. Driscoll is hoping that his team can beat AC and build momentum leading into the league opener against Saugus.
Speaking of Saugus, the Sachems looked very impressive in a 24-14 win over a Danvers team that defeated Winthrop in the season opener.
“Saugus is a very good football team and could be one of the top teams in our division,” said Driscoll. “Saugus, Pentucket, and Newburyport are solid football programs. I was really impressed watching Saugus.”
Jordan Corbett-Frank, Tommy Lund, and Ben Spinazzola sat out the game against Beverly with injuries. Corbett-Frank will likely sit out Friday’s game versus Arlington Catholic. Senior lineman Dan Feeley played in the Beverly game despite being under the weather.
The inclement weather led to a slew of fumbles, eight by Beverly, four by Winthrop.