The Winthrop High School football awards banquet had many memorable moments, but the emotional showstopper came when captains Stevie Perullo and Chris Ferrara unveiled the “2020” on the NEC championship banner.
“I’ve kind of been envisioning this moment – I knew this moment was going to come, I didn’t know how long it would take, but I knew it would come,” said Cadigan in introducing the banner-unveiling segment of the awards program.
“Everybody in this room, you now have a special bond – it doesn’t matter when or if you ever come back to Winthrop High School, this [banner] will always be there and your year will always be on there. It’s something that you guys should take great pride in. It will never be taken away from you. You guys are the champs. Nobody can ever say you didn’t get it done.”
In his opening remarks to the group, Cadigan said, “It’s the 2020 or 2021 banquet, however you want to call it, but one thing we will call it is the ‘banquet of the NEC champion Winthrop football Vikings.”
This season was unlike any other in that it wasn’t played in the fall of 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic forced officials to move the season to the spring of 2021.
The Vikings put it all together and produced a championship season highlighted by victories over Framingham, Gloucester, and Masconomet.
Cadigan thanked individuals who helped make the season so special, including Booster Parents Jennifer Hovermale and Marissa Ferrara.
Stevie Perullo, an all-NEC lineman, showed that not only can he get it done on the football field but at the podium as well. Perullo delivered a brilliant speech about the culture of Winthrop High football.
“Over the years one thing that Coach Cadigan has always emphasized is the importance of Winthrop football culture,” said Perullo. “Our culture is defined by a combination of our traditions, our achievements, and how the players carry themselves on and off the field.
“When I think of the most important parts of our traditions and our culture, three things that come to my mind are: team dinners, our clothes (all players are always attired in the same practice gear), and our banquet,” continued Perullo. “These three crucial aspects have one thing in common: they are set up by our amazing Boosters, Jen Hovermale and Marissa Ferrara.”
Speaking about the awards night, Perullo said, “The banquet is a gathering where players, parents, alumni and coaches celebrate our culture, and sure enough, the banquet is put together and set up by our wonderful Booster Club every year.
“This gift [to Jen Hovermale and Marissa Ferrara] is a small gesture saying ‘thank you’ because it’s impossible to repay Jen and Marissa for what they’ve done for the culture of our program.”
Coach Cadigan singled out the achievements of the seniors, including All-Scholastic running back Bobby Hubert, who received the Irving P. Alexander Memorial Trophy and the Offensive Player of the Year Trophy, and All-NEC player Ryan Hovermale, who received the Winthrop Youth Football Player Award, the Defensive Player of the Year Award, and was named the Agganis All-Star Game South Team MVP.
“His last defensive play was the biggest play of his career,” noted Cadigan about the versatile Hovermale. “There is a photo of Ryan breaking up the pass that essentially sealed the deal against Masco. Ryan, if I were you, that’s the picture I would bring at all the reunions.”
Of Hubert, a four-year varsity player and the NEC MVP this season, Cadigan said, “You’ve put yourself right up there with some of the best football players that ever played here.”
The banquet was indeed an amazing night to look back and celebrate an unforgettable season that was keyed by a tremendous senior class and a dedicated staff of coaches led by head coach Jonathan Cadigan.