The Winthrop High School football team saved its best performance for last, handing Newburyport is first conference loss in two years, 18-16, Sunday at World War Memorial Stadium.
Jordan Corbett-Frank scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 52 seconds remaining to cap off a 12-play, 73-yard game-winning touchdown drive.
It was a satisfying win for coach Sean Driscoll and his players who saw Newburyport extinguish the Vikingsâ€™ hopes for a title last year in the conference finale at Miller Stadium.
Winthrop (5-5) can now forge a winning season by beating Revere (5-4) in the annual Thanksgiving game.
Trailing 10-0 on rare late Sunday afternoon game, the Vikings could have packed it in and called it a day. Instead the Vikings stormed back with Dylan Driscoll scoring a 1-yard touchdown on the final play of the half.
Winthrop took a 12-10 lead early in the fourth quarter on Driscollâ€™s second TD. Newburyport returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown before the Vikings responded with its well-executed drive, highlighted by a key third-down reception by David Capone.
â€œIt was great to see the confidence in our playersâ€™ eyes before and during the winning drive,â€ said Sean Driscoll.
Senior lineman Dan Feeley showed his All-Star credentials in the penultimate game of his outstanding career.
â€œDanny Feeley was outstanding for us on both sides of the football,â€ said Driscoll.
Ruben Powell had seven carries for 52 yards and kept up his reputation as one of the leagueâ€™s best special teams/return artists. David Gallo delivered the power yardage on 10 carries for 66 yards.
â€œDave Gallo really set the tone for the game in the second half with some powerful runs,â€ said Driscoll.
Sophomore Tyler Gillis was one of the defensive standouts, continuing to raise his level of play each week, a development that bodes well for next yearâ€™s outlook.
â€œTyler played his best game of the year,â€ said Driscoll.
Tommy Lund and Eric Castro also drew commendations from Driscoll for their contributions in holding Newburyport to a field goal on offense (An INT return and kickoff return accounted for the other points).
â€œWe just got the whole package going against Newburyport for the first time, a good offensive performance and a great defensive performance,â€ said Driscoll.
The Vikingsâ€™ coach added that his team showed tremendous heart against the Clippers.
â€œI liked the way kids responded especially in the second half,â€ said Driscoll. â€œIt would have been easier down 10-0 to pack it in and get ready for Thanksgiving. Instead this team stepped it up in a very physical, hard-fought game.â€
The Vikings have begun preparations for their traditional holiday game with Revere, who is looking to claim its own winning season.’