Vikings Put It All Together in 23-6 Victory Over Saugus
The Winthrop High football team excelled in all three phases of the game — offense, defense, and special teams — to record its first victory of the season, a 23-6 triumph over Saugus, before a large and appreciative home crowd under the lights at a glistening Miller Field last Friday evening.
“The entire team did a great job,” said WHS head coach Jon Cadigan. “Everyone made a contribution to the winning effort.”
The Northeastern Conference South Division rivals engaged in a defensive struggle through most of the first two periods until the visiting Sachems drew first blood with a touchdown near the end of the half. The Saugus scoring drive was aided & abetted in large part by a roughing-the-kicker call on the Vikings that moved the ball from midfield to the Winthrop 35.
Saugus took advantage of the second chance, driving the 35 yards to paydirt, with the capper coming on a fourth-and-goal from the eight yard line.
However, the Saugus players then made a mental mistake of their own, incurring a penalty for an overly-exuberant, post-TD celebration. Cadigan elected to move the Sachems back 15 yards on the point-after attempt (rather than taking 15 yards on the kickoff) and the move paid off handsomely when the Saugus place kicker missed the PAT, leaving matters at 6-0.
The Saugus lead proved to be as short-lived as the setting sun. Viking Austin Daigneault picked up the ensuing Sachem kick-off at his own 30 and sped untouched for the entire 70 yard distance en route to the Saugus end zone.
The Sachems then committed another mental error when they were whistled for offsides on the Winthrop PAT attempt. With the Vikings now just one yard away after moving half the distance to the goal, Cadigan elected for a two-point conversion, which his offensive line and running back Tyler Rockefeller executed to perfection to make it 8-6 in Winthrop’s favor at the half.
The Winthrop defense continued to dominate at the start of the second half and, after forcing a three-and-out, the Viking offense took over in the midfield area. Faced with a third-and-long situation from their own 37, Winthrop signal-caller Bobby Hubert called his own number on a quarterback draw.
After getting past the first level of the Saugus defense, the speedy Hubert turned on the jets, criss-crossing the field for what eventually would register in the books as a 63 yard TD jaunt, though the actual distance he covered no doubt would have been recorded as much greater if he had been wearing a Fitbit.
Once again Saugus jumped offsides on the Viking PAT attempt and once again, Cadigan chose to go for two. This time it was Hubert who faked the hand-off to Rockefeller and then followed Tyler into the middle of the scrum, plunging over the goal line to make it 16-6.
“We felt as though we could get enough push with our offensive line against their defense to go for the two points, and we were successful on both attempts,” noted Cadigan.
The Viking defense continued to have its way with the Saugus offense, even more so when the starting Sachem quarterback departed with a dislocated elbow. Winthrop then put the game away with a TD in the final period when Rockefeller went in from six yards out. The Vikings had moved into the red zone thanks to a 40-yard pass connection from Hubert-to-Rockefeller on a play-action pass.
Hubert — who also serves as the Winthrop place-kicker — finally got to put his foot to good use when Saugus did not jump offside, and Bobby split the uprights for the 23-6 finale.
“Saugus beat us last year in a close game and we had set our sights on this one from the beginning of the season, so getting a win against them made the victory doubly-satisfying,” said Cadigan.
Hubert accounted for a big part of the Viking attack, racking up more than 200 yards of total offense. The junior quarterback passed for 67 yards and rushed for 157 yards on 19 carries. He also scored nine points with his TD, two-point conversion, and PAT kick.
Rockefeller also was a multi-offensive threat. Tyler caught a pass for 36 yards and gained 24 yards on three rushing attempts for a nifty 8.0 yards/per carry average. He accounted for eight of the Winthrop points.
David Diccico made a nice pass reception for 15 yards.
On the defensive side, the coaching staff awarded two black shirt awards, which are based on a variety of defensive metrics, to junior linebacker Brian Conceicao and senior lineman Rin Gjinouci.
“This is the second week in a row that Brian has received the award,” said Cadigan. “Once again he played an outstanding game. Rin was awesome. He was all over the field tracking down their ballcarriers and was credited with two sacks.”
Cadigan and his crew, who now stand at 1-1 on the season, will trek to Danvers tomorrow (Friday) evening for a Friday Night Lights encounter with the high-flying Falcons. Danvers last week flew past a Lynn Classical squad (which the week before had defeated Brockton) by a commanding 44-22 margin.
“Danvers is a very good team,” said Cadigan. “We’re expecting a hard-fought game.”
WHS Volleyball Team Defeats Mt. Alvernia
The Winthrop High volleyball team earned a key victory with a 3-0 shutout of Mt. Alvernia this past week. The victory improved the Vikings to 2-0 against Division 3 teams in their quest to qualify for the post-season state tournament.
“Mount Alvernia had some great hitters, but we were able to compete,” said WHS co-head coach Rachel DelSolio.
In other contests this past week, Winthrop dropped a 3-1 decision to Swampscott last Thursday and came up just short to Beverly, 3-2, this past Tuesday.
“The Beverly match definitely was our most competitive match that we have played so far this season,” said DelSolio. “The last set was neck-and-neck the whole time and we lost by two points. Despite the score, our team played very well against a strong-hitting team. We continue to improve each game.”
Winthrop will host Danvers this evening (Thursday) and will entertain Revere on Monday. They will travel to Marblehead on Wednesday.
Boys Soccer Falls Short vs. Saugus
The Winthrop High boys soccer team dropped a 3-2 decision at Saugus last Tuesday.
After spotting Saugus a 2-0 lead in the first half, junior Antonio Xavier pulled the Vikings within a goal after the intermission when he volleyed the ball into the low corner after the ball had deflected off a Saugus player.
Saugus responded to make it 3-1, but Winthrop struck back when junior Chris Nunes reached the back of the Saugus net with an assist from senior Abdul Hamada.
However, the Vikings were unable to bring the contest back to level before the ref’s final whistles. Winthrop was playing without the services of starting keeper Augie Cherico (who was ill). Juan Pablo Ramirez stepped into net in place of Cherico and made a few saves.
“Unfortunately, we did not play our best and Saugus took advantage of it,” said WHS head coach Kyle Gagin.
Last Thursday, the Vikings hosted Lynn English and came up on the short end of a 6-0 decision. English took control of the contest with two early goals and maintained their advantage the rest of the way.
Winthrop managed just three shots on net and Cherico made a number of saves.
Gavin and his crew will host Danvers tomorrow (Friday). They will travel to Tech Boston Academy next Tuesday and to Marblehead next Thursday.