The Winthrop High School football team defeated Gloucester, 28-8, in impression fashion to set up a showdown against undefeated Peabody Friday night on the Tanners’ home field.
Peabody (5-0) and Winthrop (3-2) are the top-rated teams in the NEC South Division and the winner will have the inside track to the title. Coach Jon Cadigan surging Vikings have won three games in a row.
Quarterback Robert Noonan and running back Nick Cappuccio combined for a 36-yard touchdown pass on Winthrop’s first play from scrimmage against Gloucester.
“We felt pretty confident in that play,” said Cadigan. “We actually told the team Thursday night that we’re running that on our first play. We liked the matchup, and they did a good job executing the play.”
Cappuccio used his speed to get behind the secondary and Noonan threw a strike for the touchdown.
The Vikings would add three more touchdowns – two of which turned in by Welvis Acosta and George Galuris – were of the spectacular and unusual variety – before Gloucester scored a late fourth-quarter touchdown.
Acosta Avoids Tackle for a TD
Former Yankees catcher Yoga Berra said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over,” and for running back Welvis Acosta, the saying is, ‘you’re not tackled until you’re tackled.”
Acosta appeared to be stopped by a Gloucester player after catching a short pass from Noonan. But Acosta maneuvered free and turned the play into a 60-yard touchdown.
“The play was right in front of us,” said Jon Cadigan. “It was a simple, 5-yard throw in the flat. Welvis landed on top of the Gloucester tackler, and he popped up and took off. That’s the second time he’s done that this season. When Welvis has the football, he can break tackles and do those sorts of things.”
Cadigan said the play-actions to Welvis are drawing attention and respect from opposing defenses and opening up the passing game.
Can someone get the versatile Acosta a main headline around here? He’s having a breakout year, but he always seems to be the No. 2 star of the game.
Galuris Soars for a Touchdown
George Galuris had three catches for 76 yards, including one for a 26-yard touchdown on the first possession of the third quarter.
The TD catch was extraordinary as Galuris tipped the ball up in the air to himself and made a one-handed catch for a touchdown.
A point guard for the WHS basketball team, Galuris was asked about his two big catches on that scoring drive.
“[On the touchdown], our quarterback made a great throw. I looked at the ball and I didn’t worry about my defender. I tracked it down with one hand and I pulled it in. It was the best feeling of my life. On the first play, I just had to go inside and grab the football. Playing basketball is always helping me – at cornerback, too. It’s helped with my footsteps and everything, doing moves and jukes at wide receiver and running back. I love basketball.”
George has a twin brother, Jake Galuris, who is a golfer on the Winthrop High team. “He’s really good at golf,” said George, whose sisters, Grace and Samantha, played both basketball and soccer for the Lady Vikings.
Noonan Named Herald ‘Star of the Week’
Rob Noonan received some much-deserved recognition with his selection as a Boston Herald Star of the Week.
Noonan was 6-of-9 passing for 202 yards and three touchdowns, in addition to being a key contributor on the Vikes’ No. 1 defensive team that kept Gloucester off the scoreboard.
“Robert obviously played well,” said Cadigan. “You look at his numbers and that paints a picture of it. Our passing game has been much more effective this season. Robert has improved as a quarterback and we have multiple weapons at receiver.”
Cassidy Receives Defensive Player of the Game Award
Donovan Cassidy received the Vikings’ Black Shirt defensive player of the game award.
Cassidy was immense on defense with five tackles that resulted in a loss of yardage, a statistic known as TFL (Tackle For A Loss).
“He’s just a solid football player and a great kid,” lauded Coach Cadigan. “He’s just getting better and better each week.”
Defensive backs Michael Holgersen (son of former Winthrop High football star Steve Holgersen who played in the Shriners All-Star Classsic), Demetri Koutsouflakis, George Galuris, and Mark Johnson all had major roles in shutting down Gloucester’s spread offense. Linemen Ryan Harris, Alessio Marcoccio, Dan Thomai, and Teddy Bailey also played well.
Gloucester Coach Praises Winthrop
Gloucester coach Dan O’Connor had praise for the Vikings during the post-game interview.
“They’re a well-coached team,” said O’Connor. “Cadigan has a great program up there. Their whole team impressed me. They’re hard, tough-nosed kids who know what they’re doing and do it well.”
Peabody a Huge Test
Peabody has been averaging 40 points per game in its spread offense which is led by senior quarterback and reigning league MVP Shea Lynch, who has more than 1,000 yards in passing through five games.
“I think our team is going to show up and we’re going to compete and we’re going to try to win a football game,” said Cadigan.
The Vikings’ superb running back, Nick Cappuccio, left the Gloucester game in the first quarter with an injury. His status is day-to-day for the Winthrop-Peabody game.