With the wind whipping across Miller Field on a chilly Friday night, Winthrop head football coach Jon Cadigan signaled Nick Cappuccio to move a few yards back on a Medway punt.
The call proved to be momentous in the game’s outcome. Cappuccio was able to catch the football with the field in front of him, and the sophomore made the most of his opportunity, returning it 82 yards for a touchdown.
It was one of a few difference-making plays for Cappuccio (9 carries for 111 yards) that helped the Vikings earn a hard-fought 28-6 victory over the Medway Mustangs. The talented sophomore also had a 60-yard run for a touchdown that featured a clinic on team and downfield blocking, and he caught a two-point conversion pass from quarterback Robert Noonan.
And oh, by the way, Cappuccio intercepted a pass to stop cold a potential Medway scoring drive and was named the Vikings’ Black Shirt defensive player of the game.
“Nick had an outstanding game,” summarized Jon Cadigan. “His punt return was just a phenomenal play of our guys executing it. Nick was great and got the wall [of blockers] but the guys setting up the wall were terrific.”
Cappuccio confirmed that the blocking was vital on his two touchdowns. He was also asked about his A-plus performance and Winthrop claiming its first victory of the season.
“It feels good. My team helped me out a lot with their blocking,” said Cappuccio. [On the punt return], there was really good blocking, so I was able choose one path. The interception, I thought it was kind of lucky, because I didn’t really see it, but that felt good, too. I’m not sure I saw this coming, but I was sure hoping for a game like this.”
Medway head coach Anthony Mazzola felt Winthrop’s ability to strike quickly – along with Cappuccio’s performance – were the differences in the game.
“We gave up a couple of explosive plays, a couple of breakdowns in what we’re trying to do there – we have to execute better,” said Mazzola. “We absolutely knew about [Cappuccio] coming in, but you can prepare, but you still have to make plays on the football field.”
Medway’s left-handed quarterback, senior three-sport performer Luke Frauton, made some accurate throws but the Vikings were able to limit Medway (0-3) to one touchdown.
Best Supporting Performance: Acosta
Senior running back Welvis Acosta was also a prime-time contributor with 17 carries for 122 yards and two touchdowns. He made the key, last block on Cappuccio’s punt return.
“I was very happy with Welvis’ game and the play of our offensive line,” said Cadigan.
Marcoccio, Tsiotos Recover Onside Kick
One key play that didn’t go unnoticed by the Vikings was the recovery of Medfield’s onside kick to start the second half.
Alessio Marcoccio and Vasili Tsiotos were credited with the recovery of the crazy-bouncing, wind-affected football.
“That was obviously a huge play in the game,” said Coach Cadigan. “It was really heads-up play by both players.”
Marcoccio also received high marks for his offensive line play.
“Alessio played tremendously up front,” said Cadigan. “I though Philip Boncore played well at center and Ryan Harris and Donovan Cassidy played well. Matt Reardon stepped in and he improved as the game wore on.”
Thomai Makes a Pulverizing Block
Of all the blocks that propelled Nick Cappuccio’s run for his 60-yard touchdown, the one by junior Daniel Thomai was perhaps the most impressive.
Thomai took care of his assignment and overpowered a Medway defender. In addition to hailing Thomai for his contribution to the score, Jon Cadigan also lauded Welvis Acosta, George Galuris, Matt Reardon, and other linemen on the play.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, assistant coach Derek Brodin and the Bllue and Gold were commended for their roles in the 28-6 victory.
Noonan Seals it on QB Keeper
Vikings’ QB Robert Noonan picked up a key first down on a fourth-down-and-3 play in the fourth quarter, carrying the ball around right end. The play call by assistant coach Mark D’Ambrosio seemed to catch the Mustangs by sweep.
“That’s our buck sweep,” said Cadigan. “Robert’s very good at running that play. We should probably run it more often. That first down really sealed the deal for us with the time and lead in our favor.”
Noonan nearly had a touchdown pass on a perfectly thrown ball on the Vikings’ first series, but Cappuccio was able to complete the connection in the end zone.
“But Nick bounced back in a big way,” commented Cadigan.
Tony Fucillo in Attendance
Tony Fucillo sat in front of the press box for the Medway-Winthrop game. Just having the legendary coach in the stadium is an inspiring sight for Viking fans. His cousin, Vinnie Eruzione, wore a sports cap from Curry College, where he is the school’s director of athletics, and a purple jacket from Holy Cross, where he played three Division 1 sports.
Vikings’ assistant defensive coach James Fucillo was in the coaches’ box while his cousin, Precinct 1 Councillor Richard Fucillo Jr. was in the Winthrop TV announcer’s booth. We understand that Harvard assistant coach Anthony Fucillo also made an appearance at the game. Harvard defeated Brown in its Ivy League opener.
Up Next: A Strong Danvers Foe
Winthrop will play one of the better teams in the Northeastern Conference when Danvers comes to town Friday night.
Danvers (1-2) has played three very tough opponents, Haverhill, Tewksbury, and Reading, allowing only two scores by the Middlesex League powerhouse.
“They’ve been playing up competition-wise, so it’s definitely going to be a challenge for us Friday night,” said Coach Jon Cadigan.