When Welvis Acosta scored on a 1-yard run to complete Winthrop’s scoring drive on its first possession and added the two-point conversion on Robert Noonan pass to Demetri Koutsouflaks, the Vikings appeared ready to give highly regarded St. Mary’s a tough 48-minute tussle to the final whistle.
“I don’t think the game could’ve started any better for us,” said Winthrop head coach Jon Cadigan. “We forced them to a three-and-out right away, and then offensively we went right down the field and scored.”
But on the next series St. Mary’s made two key fourth-down conversions and the momentum shifted, as the Spartans left Miller Field with a hard-earned 37-14 victory over the Vikings.
“I think the biggest play of the game early in the game was the fade that David Brown Jr. threw to Nick Sacco on a fourth-down-and-5. Sacco made an excellent catch for a 45-yard gain that led directly to the Spartans’ touchdown. “If we stop them there, we get great field possession.”
Winthrop defensive back Mark Johnson appeared to have Sacco blanketed on the pass play. “Mark was in coverage, and he was right there,” said Cadigan. “It was a great throw by David Brown and a really great catch. That’s just a good football play by them.”
St. Mary’s took control of the game, using the 1-2 punch of running back Derick Koulanges (24 carries for 155 yards and 2 TDs) and quarterback David Brown Jr. (20 carries for 146 yards and 2 TDs, 1 TD pass for 45 yards) in setting the foundation to victory.
“I think the publicity on David Brown Jr. is 100 percent accurate, but from watching them in the pre-season and playing them, I think Koulanges is really the guy that gets them going a bit,” said Winthrop Coach Jon Cadigan. “It’s a lot easier to defend when Koulanges is not out there. But when you have David Brown playing quarterback, and Koulanges is just a tough-to-tackle, downhill runner and he can wear you down. I think we were worn down a little bit in the second half.
“One of our goals is to see and hopefully play St. Mary’s again [in the playoffs],” concluded Cadigan. “I think our guys know we can match up them.”
Impressive Effort by Nick Cappuccio
Nick Cappuccio had what could be a breakout game, accounting for 110 yards on 13 carries. Cappuccio had a few carries where he was one cut away from taking the football all the way to the end zone.
Cappuccio’s track-season accomplishments in the spring certainly affirmed his fine speed. He’s definitely a “player to watch” as he seeks to enter the elite running back category inhabited by Viking alumni Steve Staffier, Chucky Sullivan, Anthony Palmer, Bobby Kneeland, Joey Murray, and Matt Murray – just to name a few.
And as ABC-TV football announcer Keith Jackson used to say with his familiar accent, “[Nick Cappuccio] is only a soph-o-more.”
Coach Sean Driscoll’s Post-Game Comments
St. Mary’s head coach Sean Driscoll talked with reporters after the game about his triumphant return to his hometown.
“This place [the Town of Winthrop] is a special place,” said Driscoll. “I still work in the town, and I know a lot of these kids from my parks and recreational program over the years. It felt different coming back to this field. Winthrop has a good program and a great coach. You saw how they came out in the first quarter with us. They gave us all we could handle. I was a little disappointed with how we started, but I think once we settled into the game, we played very well, especially in the second half. I thought we overpowered them in the second half.”
Welvis Acosta Receives Defense Award
Welvis Acosta, who scored two touchdowns on offense, received the Vikings’ Black Shirt top defensive player award.
Acosta had nine solo tackles and four assists.
Vikings Lose Robert Rich to Injury
Junior two-way performer Robert Rich sustained a shoulder injury on the Vikings’ first offensive play during a blocking assignment.
Rich had played very well throughout the pre-season and into the regular season opener versus Stoneham.
“It looks like it’s probably going to be a season-ending injury, which is tough,” said Jon Cadigan. “The worst part of this job is when your guys get hurt. And that was certainly a tough one when Robert was injured.”
Vikings Host Medway Friday
Winthrop (0-2) will host Medway (0-2) High in a non-league game Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Miller Field.
“Medway had a really good quarterback and a really good wide receiver,” noted Cadigan. “They’re a spread-offense team that likes to throw the football. It will be an interesting adjustment for us playing a spread-team that’s more pass happy than what we’ve seen in our first two games.”