The Winthrop High School football team will open its season against Saugus Friday at 7 p.m. at Stackpole Field.
It’s a rare home night game for the Sachems who will be using portable lights to illuminate the field for the season opener.
“We used portable lights for a home game at Miller Field in 1998,” recalled Winthrop football coach Sean Driscoll. “It was a such a good experiment that we installed permanent lights. Saugus is trying to do the same thing and get permanent lighting for its field and be able to have Friday night football games. Our kids are excited about playing a night game in Saugus.”
Junior Dylan Driscoll, son of the Vikings’ head coach, will begin his second season as the Vikings’ starting quarterback. Running backs Jordan Corbett-Frank, Reise Turransky, and Jake Chiudina, tight end Zach Deeb, and receiver Vincent Sparacino will also be key performers in the Vikings’ offense.
Ben Spinazzola and David Baxter lead an offensive line that showed improvement in the preseason.
Junior linebacker Tyler Gillis is emerging as a leader of the Vikings’ defense, according to the Winthrop coach.
Driscoll attended the Saugus-Belmont scrimmage and he expects the Sachems to run a multi-faceted offensive scheme in the opener.
“Saugus runs a very difficult offense and when they get that fullback going in the triple option, it’s always a tough challenge,” said Driscoll. “Saugus has a solid team. They run their offensive with precision and it’s hard to defend it. It takes a lot of discipline and doing your job to stop an offense like that. They have a lot of skill in their backfield. But I think we match up well with them up front.”
Saugus will be looking to avenge last year’s 13-7 defeat to Winthrop. Ruben Powell returned the football 92 yards for a touchdown following a blocked field goal attempt in overtime. Powell’s heads-up play has gone down in the record books as one of the most memorable and most unusual endings to a Winthrop football game.
“It’s been a great rivalry and the way we won last year on a blocked field goal in overtime left a sour taste over there so I’m sure they’ll be ready to play,” said Driscoll.