Sports 12-03-2015

From the Press Box sponsored by: Winthrop Book depot & café

A Viking Celebration

By: Jim Lederman

A capacity crowd filled Harry Della Russo Stadium, waiting to celebrate a victory for the Patriots over their archrival Vikings! A win would give the Patriots eight victories, the second best team in Patriots history.

The celebration after the Vikings thrilling victory (15-12) was done by a young but well coached Viking team. The 100 fans who were celebrating on the field – were ex-Vikings, parents and coaches. The other end was a sad Patriot team.

Vikings always win on Thanksgiving “This is a great win for our program,” said a jubilant Vikings head coach Sean Driscoll, on the new Harry Della Russo turf field.

This was the largest Winthrop-Revere crowd for the ‘big game in many years.’ The ride home for a Viking team in the Viking Pride bus will be memorable for the 2015 Vikings!

The turkey tasted extra special for the Vikings! Winning the Beachcomber trophy highlights from ‘the game’ – the coaching staff outcoached the Revere Patriots for another Viking celebration.

The chief architects of the defense that limited Revere to 12 points. The firm of Cadigan and DeFelice, they are defense experts.

Kudos to coach Sean Driscoll, his record on Thanksgiving (7-2) vs. Revere (the two losses by 12 points).

A spectacular warm day

The game plan by coach Driscoll control the clock (32 minutes) and run all over the Patriots when they trailed, they had turnovers!

Viking defense – strong linebacker senior Justin Barker, Matt Tarantino, Joe Trenouth, and Luigi Spinazzola shut down highly touted Revere quarterback Dan Murphy. Revere honored 18-seniors on ‘Senior Day’ – Viking seniors Barker, Dellano, Fisher and A.J. Winter contained the running attack.

Vikings trailed twice (6-0) (12-7) but another Viking comeback led to victory for coach Driscoll and company.

Viking TV-channel; 15 taped the game, the broadcast team of Al Petrilli and yours truly also celebrated!

Revere enrollment at RHS is 1,795, at WHS it is 575. Revere is three times the size of Winthrop High; we always win on ‘Turkey Day’ because we are better prepared.

The Vikings improved to (28-3) in the last 30 ‘Turkey Day’ battles – only one loss in Revere!

Revere has a beautiful $7.5 million dollar stadium and only one team celebrated on the first game at the new “Harry Della Russo Stadium.” The young Viking eleven christened the field!

Viking faithful left the stadium to return to Winthrop to celebrate a Viking celebration! The turkey tasted better in Winthrop!

Revere Patriots wanted to establish a new RHS record for victories (eight) the second best in Revere Patriots history! The Vikings celebrated on the new Harry Della Russo turf after the thrilling (15-12) comeback victory! The closest margin of victory since the 1989 Revere victory at Miller Field. The Vikings have ‘Viking Pride’ despite being an underdog. The Winthrop Vikings always win!

The ‘Beachcomber Trophy,’ once again is back in Winthrop for another year – free roast beef’s at Kelly’s! (We had the beef).

The Revere Patriots had a huge size advantage on their line. The Vikings once again prevailed and had another fourth quarter victory – bringing back memories of 2007, a last second pass from Will Milano (31 career touchdown passes) to Chris Beranger (28-21) Vikings!

I will take a 10-yard penalty for omitting the thrilling 2007 Viking victory. A last minute pass from Will Milano to Chris Beranger (All-Scholastic and UNH standout) final score (28-21) Vikings.

Vikings were healthy after an injured filled 2015 season.

A team composed of 11 starting juniors and three standout sophomores will lead the 2016 Vikings to another NEC title.

The Viking defense held a high scoring (26 points per game) Patriots team to 12 points- kudos to coach Jon Cadigan on a super job after the Vikings allowed (97) points in the previous two games.

The Vikings have coach Michael DeFelice; he did another ‘super job’ outplaying a Patriot team with a huge size advantage – winning in the trenches.

A very large Viking faithful packed Harry Della Russo and did all the celebrating – The new stadium – same results! Keeping the streak alive – only one loss to Revere in Revere in the last 35 years, talk about a ‘dominant’ Viking football tradition – Great job Viking football coaches! Sean Driscoll enjoyed the turkey and said ‘the curse’ – a Viking secret is in Harry Della Russo – coach ‘Cad’ and Sean are smiling!

The silence in the press box from Patriot coaches and Revere TV – as the silence from the crowd at the end of the game. 100 Viking fans and ex-players and parents saluting the young Vikings. They will be “NEC Champs” in 2016!

Keep the celebrations strong and let the games begin!

Faces In the Crowd

HDR – Harry Della Russo Stadium was filled to capacity – included in the huge contingent of Winthrop Viking fans –

Coach Bob DeFelice and two members of his undefeated 1981 Super Bowl champions, captain John Tiano and his cousin Gus Martucci – Gus proud of his nephew ‘number 33’.

Matt Tarantino, his biggest game of the season. Matt will have a great season in 2016 – Viking backfield returns.

Buster and Chris Ferrara, Mike and Vinnie Eruzione, John and captain Sean Gillis form the ‘2014 NEC Champions’ Sean Globe All-Scholastic, Matt Murray (number 33 – 2006 All-Scholastic), the running of junior fullback – (number 33 Matt Tarantino). The Patriots had what they called a ‘strong defense’, but the Patriots can never stop Viking backs on Thanksgiving.

The legendary Danny Ventura, Boston Herald high school sports editor, covering the game and writing an excellent article! He said to me, “If they play like that in 2016, they will win the Conference.”

Three linebackers in the house – the Barker company – Jimmy (1981 super bowl champs). Jimmy Jr. (2011 All-Scholastic Lynn Item-Viking captain), proud mom Cheryl, proud grandpa Joe Dalton cheering for senior Justin Barker shutting out Revere quarterback Dan Murphy! Vikings tradition – strong linebackers.

Amherst College assistant coach Anthony Fucillo undefeated.

The Feeley family, captain Matt returning after separating his shoulder in Swampscott, Pat and Nancy Feeley, big brother Dan Danny Feeley (6’3”-275) named an “All (MASCAC), League lineman of the championship Framingham State Rams – Congrats Danny!

Coach Jimmy Nimblett and son, coach Bobby Nimblett, Carl, Kathy and Vincent Tarantino, cheering for ‘Number 33’ – Matt Tarantino, Nick and Debbie Spinazzola proud of the outstanding play of center Luigi Spinazzola, Ben and Anthony Spinazzola, ex-Viking standouts proud of ‘little brother’ Luigi, another proud Viking football family.

Attorney Chris Tsiotos, Speaker of the House Bobby DeLeo, John Tipping from the undefeated 1964 Viking team.

Jim and Ginny Noiles, Tom and Suzanne Chiudina, Number 30 – Jake Chiudina (WPI-Vikings star in 2014), The Zuffante family, including a very proud grandfather Jimmy Magnasco, celebrating the play of the ‘Star of the Day.’

Junior quarterback (number 11) Chris Zuffante, his two touchdowns led the Vikings to victory! Tino Capobianco, new member of the Winthrop School Committee, Angelo and Gabriella Vigliotta, the Deeb family – including Zach Deeb, a ‘bolt of lightning on a sunny day’, in 2014 his electrifying 80-yard kickoff return on Thanksgiving 2014! ‘Number 10’, 2014 MVP quarterback Dylan Driscoll, returning home from Plymouth State College. Gary and Jen Capone in the house, looking forward to watching ‘Frankie’ play for the Lady Vikings.

John Gambale – new “Lady Vikings” hoop coach enjoying lunch at Rossetti’s on the beach. John will build a strong program, hoop season is only two weeks away!

*At Dunkin Donuts, Rev. Charles Bourke, big Viking sports fan. The ‘good father’ of St. John’s Church loves to praise the Viking teams and attends many games.

Big Jim Griffin, ex-Viking tackle (2014) had a big year at Worcester Academy, being recruited by Division One Central Connecticut State and Assumption College.

Faces at J.W.’s

Holiday brings ex-Vikings back home.  Having dinner at J.W.’s Mike Brenner (WHS All-Scholastic tackle, who played at Rutgers), on the ‘greatest team’ (1981 super bowl champions) with teammates Gus Martucci and John Tiano. Carla Vitale, Bobby Deeb, Brian and Gabby Anderson, Greg Zikos (Harvard football), Chris Zikos (Holy Cross) and Atty. Chris Tsiotos, Mike Eruzione and family enjoying the fine dining at J.W.’s Restaurant on the holiday weekend.

The Milano Family

Condolence to the Milano Family on the loss of Michael. The first son of Richard and Pat, he leaves brothers Patrick and Will and sister Maria and uncle Donald.

I was a teammate with Richard on the 10960 NEC hoop champions. His late brother Walter Milano was a standout hoop player and a member of the Winthrop high school Hall of Fame. Patrick was an NEC football All-Star; William holds a WHS touchdown record – 31 career touchdowns. Maria teaches school in Colorado.

The Milano’s are a very highly respected family in our community.

Vikings Win Turkey Day Thriller (15-12)

By: Jim Lederman

The Vikings behind the outstanding leadership of junior quarterback Chris Zuffante upset the Revere Patriots (7-4) in ‘the game.’

85th renewal of a great rivalry at Harry Della Russo Stadium in Revere. The only jets that took off on the holiday morning, were the three junior jets, Zuffante (two touchdowns), Jon Gonzales (106-yards on 28 carries) and a ‘bruising’ fullback, Matt Tarantino, his running and key first downs paved the route to the winning touchdown for the Winthrop Vikings.

The winning touchdown was set up by a key fumble recovery by Gonzales on the Revere 24-yard line with 3:42 left in the fourth quarter Zuffante’s 2-yard run up the middle with 1:39 to play was the clincher in a thriller at Harry Della Russo Stadium – another turkey day victory!

The offensive line outplayed their larger rivals and was the key to the victory. Junior Luigi Spinazzola was immense at center, opening holes Junior guard Gene August, sophomores Nick Manfra and Calvin Tufa.

The Patriots scored on their opening drive (59 yards in eight plays) with senior Steve Noel running 11-yards to pay dirt. That was the last time they looked dominant.

The Viking defense shut down the Patriots and the heavily favored Patriots (shooting for their 8th victory) and led 6-0 at halftime.

The Vikings had no trouble moving the ball (and controlling the clock) but fumbles and a few bad penalties stopped three long drive.

The Vikings put together a long sustained drive starting at the Viking 37-yard line.

The Vikings ran 15-plays with the ‘cool’ junior quarterback running in from the three yard line behind a great block from Spinazzola. Sophomore Calvin Tufa split the uprights for a (7-6) Winthrop lead. The third quarter ended with a confident Viking team leading (7-6). The Patriot crowd was silent; they expected a big victory from their offense that was averaging (25 points per game).

Victor Rivera, a speedy junior who had 800-yards on the season, was contained by a Viking defense with Dr. Jon Cadigan prescribing the key formula to victory!

Rivera finally showed his ability with a 14-yard touchdown for a Revere (12-7) advantage with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter and a (12-7) lead.

Revere had one last chance to tie the game with a field goal (they had a strong kicker) but with 1:02 to play, senior Zach Fisher intercepted a Dan Murphy pass to seal the big victory and incredible comeback. Coach Driscoll summed up the keys, “This was a big win for our program after a season filled with injures. WE had a super week of practice and coach DeFelice instilled confidence in our young offensive line. We had a game plan to use our talented junior backs to control the game.”

“Chris Zuffante had a clutch game and his confidence in his line and his ability to get outside was a key. We had to stop quarterback Dan Murphy from getting the edge and we had key first down stops.”

“My assistant coaches worked extra hard like they always have when we play Revere.”

“We have the Beachcomber Trophy and we don’t want to ever give it back to Revere.”

Moving the Chains

The Vikings controlled the line of scrimmage and ball control and key first downs, were the key to victory!

Vikings had 17 first downs, Revere – 8, Vikings had 32 minutes of possession, at one point 26 consecutive minutes. Vikings had 7 for 13 on third downs.

Jon Gonzales (27 for 102) led the ground attack. Chris Zuffante (12 for 70), Matt Tarantino 6 for 20 – 3 big first downs. The Vikings ran 65 plays – Revere – 33.

Joe Trenouth and Jon Gonzales led the Vikings with tackles.

Ball control led the Vikings to a thrilling victory!

Extra Points

The Vikings finished second in the NEC South with a (4-1) record. Gloucester looked strong when the Vikings took the long trip to Newell Stadium and lost (41-7).

Revere won seven games, they defeated 7-teams with losing records and scored (257) points. Coach Lou Cicatelli is (2-13) vs. Winthrop. The Patriots return Victor Rivera and leading receiver Oscar Lopez for 2016.

The 100-year Patriots football history only includes one team with 8-victories. I have witnessed so many celebrations on the Revere gridiron on the holiday. To see all the ex-Vikings congratulating the players and Viking coaches was difficult for the Revere players. This is a winning program from the smallest school in the NEC – “Viking Pride” prevailed once again.

The success of recent Viking NEC championships (2005, 2006 and 2014) was built in the months, January through August. The junior and sophomore class has many outstanding athletes, but we must work hard in the off-season.

Revere dressed 49-players and they thought with a new stadium and 17-seniors, this would be a ‘record season,’ with all-NEC quarterback Dan Murphy -1,100 passing yards and 600 rushing. Chris Zuffante outplayed their all-star quarterback and the Viking defense held the Patriots to two touchdowns!

We have waited for the Vikings to gain confidence and play with emotion, qualities of many Viking teams.

The End Zone

Peabody all-scholastic halfback Doug Santos capped his career with big numbers. The Tanners ran all over the Saugus Sachems crushing them (52-0) Santos rushed for 285-yards and five touchdowns – he finished his career with 4,865 yards.

Doug’s teams did not w in a title – they lost their ‘big game’ in 2014, to the Vikings. The law firm of Cadigan and DeFelice held Santos to 45-yards in the Winthrop (21-7) victory! Great defense and good p reparation – like a strong lawyer!

Turkey Tidbits

Calvin Tufa finished  – extra points

Tufa kept the ball out of Victor Rivera’s hands – the Patriots leading ball carrier was contained.

The PA announcer asked Al Petrilli who is Number 40? Matt Feeley had a new number (old number 44).

‘Two Matts” – Feeley and Tarantino, would have led the Vikings to the NEC title – wait till next y ear.

Capacity crowd estimated at 3,000.

Al Petrilli at 12 years old watched Jim Delgaizo on Thanksgiving in 1964 – Jimmy D. earned two super bowl rings in his NFL career.

Outstanding ex-Viking quarterbacks in the house, Anthony and James Fucillo, Kevin McGee and Dylan Driscoll.

Final NEC (South) standing!


Gloucester 5-0 9-2

Winthrop   4-1 5-6

Revere     3-2 7-4

Salem      2-3 2-9

Saugus     1-4 2-9

Swampscott 0-5 4-7


Thanksgiving results:

Winthrop – 15 – Revere – 12

Marblehead – 51 – Swampscott – 0

Peabody – 52 – Saugus -0

Beverly – 42 – Salem – 6

Gloucester – 13 – Danvers – 6

Lynn English – 34 – Classical – 21

Crystal Ball

The ‘pigskin picks’ finished strong with a perfect holiday pick six – My keys to a Viking victory was a big day for Zuffante, Gonzales and Tarantino.

My final Crystal Ball has the New England Patriots returning to the super bowl.

Winthrop – 15 – Revere – 12

Swampscott – 0 – Marblehead – 51

Beverly – 42 – Salem – 6

Gloucester – 13 – Danvers – 7

Peabody – 52 – Saugus -0

Let the Games Begin!

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