In a game that head coach Sean Driscoll said included the Vikings’ ‘best second half performance of the year," the Winthrop Vikings seemed to make few mistakes, as they opened the all-important ‘league’ part of their schedule last Saturday in Saugus.
Senior co-captain Frank Ambrosino playing fullback on offense and linebacker on defense had what many would describe as a career day, as he rushed for 139 yards and three touchdowns and added 10 solo tackles on the dirty side of the ball in leading a complete game effort for the Vikings.
“Obviously, our defense played exceptionally well,” said Driscoll, of a unit that allowed Saugus just 44 yards of offense and only one first down all day. “I also was very pleased with the way we came out to start the second half. We were already up by 18-0, but the kids came out and got to work right away and we scored on our first possession, to send a message.”
Lest anyone think that Ambrosino’s efforts were some kind of a one-man show, Driscoll pointed out that Jimmy Barker claimed the team’s Black Shirt Award, as the best defensive player of the day, senior co-captain Will Milano added 124 yards passing and two touchdowns on five of seven passing, with converted tight end Mark Jenkins catching his first TD of the season at wide receiver.
“It was just an all around good effort,” added Driscoll. “I said going in, that their offense, a Georgia Tech style option attack, could give us trouble. It requires a lot of assignment football to defend that, and I was very impressed with how disciplined our kids were and how prepared they were to handle it.”
Other offensive contributors to Saturday’s win included Chris Strangie who had 63 yards rushing and a touchdown, Joe Clougherty who had 30 yards rushing and a touchdown and Phil LoCigno (30 yards), Nick McCarthy (12 yards rushing, to go with 3 catches for 61 yards receiving and a touchdown) and Rich Ferrino (six yards rushing). J.P. Doherty also had one catch for 37 yards and Jenkins’ touchdown catch went for 26 yards.
The Vikings will play at Beverly next, on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Panthers were the pre-season favorites to win the Northeastern Conference Small Division, and are coming off a loss at Danvers last weekend.
“I know Beverly will be coming out looking for us, because in this division if you get two losses, you’re pretty much out of it,” said Driscoll. “So, the goal for us this week is simple. We want to go up to Beverly, play mistake free football in all aspects of the game and try to return home with two wins in the division.”
The win over Saugus evened Winthrop’s record at 3-3, but all three wins have come against NEC Large schools, including Gloucester, Lynn English and Peabody. Thus the Vikings are still in the hunt for their division crown and a shot at post-season play, but they may very likely have to win out in order to accomplish either of those goals.
Following this week’s game at Beverly, Winthrop will return home for the remainder of their regular season.