There is no time for tune-ups in the new MIAA playoff format where every game counts toward your record. That’s why Winthrop head coach Sean Driscoll was understandably concerned about his team’s less than inspiring start in the season opener versus Saugus Friday night.
But Dylan Driscoll, the second-year starting quarterback, soon had things going Winthrop’s way under the portable lights at Stackpole Field. By the time Driscoll was done, he had produced a touchdown pass to Jordan Corbett-Frank, rushed for two touchdowns, and made the game-sealing interception in a convincing 20-6 victory over the Sachems.
Corbett-Frank, the Vikings’ captain, launched his senior campaign in impressive fashion, carrying the ball 17 times for 105 yards and catching a nine-yard TD pass from Driscoll. Also reaching the scoring column was Vinnie Sparacino, who booted two points after touchdown. (PATs).
Sophomore Reise Turransky picked up where he left off after a solid rookie season, rushing for 76 yards on 11 attempts.
Sean Driscoll said the Vikings’ superior blocking propelled the rushing game to lofty heights. The coach singled out the efforts of fullback Justin Casilla (“A great game,” said Driscoll), tight end Zachary Deeb (two catches for 25 yards as well), and linemen Andrew Almeida, James Baxter, Ben Spinazzola, and Sean Gillis, who excelled on both sides of the ball.
Linebackers Tyler Gillis and Matt Feeley were in on several tackles while helping to limit the Sachems’ to one first-half touchdown.
Winthrop’s momentum-builder came late in the first half with the game tied at 6-6. The beneficiary of excellent field position as the result of a kickoff return by Corbett-Frank, the Vikings went on to drive 49 yards and take a 13-6 lead. Turransky had two big rushes on the drive before Driscoll connected with Corbett-Frank for the first touchdown pass play of the season.
The Vikings made it 20-6 in the third quarter on a 17-yard run by Driscoll on a key fourth-and-one situation. The junior quarterback/defensive back intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter to take the starch out of the Sachems’ comeback and ensure a triumphant bus ride back to Winthrop.
“It’s good to get off to a good start,” said Sean Driscoll. “We had a very sloppy first quarter with too many penalties but we picked it up late in the first quarter and played well. The biggest sequence of the game was when we scored with less than a minute to play in the second quarter. That TD really lifted us and hurt Saugus.”
Driscoll is preparing his team for Swampscott’s quick-strike spread offense that arrives at Miller Field Friday night.
“Swampscott is 0-2 but they have played two very good football teams,” said Driscoll. “It’s going to be an interesting game. There should be a big crowd. It looks like it’s going to be a nice night.”