For one half of a football game last Friday night, the Winthrop Vikings made a game attempt at warding off the Swampscott Big Blue at Miller Field. In fact, with senior quarterback Will Milano leading the way, the Vikings had a 21-7 lead with four minutes to go in the first half, then things started to get away from the home town team and by the time the two teams headed to the locker room at halftime, the score was at 21- apiece.
“I think our effort was good, but we really didn’t execute defensively in the second half, we lost a couple of starters to more injuries and Swampscott adjusted to what we had been doing to them through most of the first half,” said head coach Sean Driscoll.
The result was a 55-27 final score, in a game that really didn’t get out of hand until the final quarter._”First, you have to give them credit,” said Driscoll. “They’re a very well coached team. We had been having some good success against what they usually do in the first half and they adjusted to it, started giving us some different looks and creating some match-up problems and then the injuries started piling up and we just didn’t have enough to stop them at the end.”
Injured for the Vikings were junior halfback Nick McCarthy, who had 63 yards on 14 carries and 34 yards receiving and one touchdown on three catches before leaving the game in the second half with a broken hand.
Also injured was defensive stalwart Keith Stasio, who suffered a shoulder injury. McCarthy is considered doubtful for the upcoming game Friday against Danvers, but Driscoll said the team is hopeful that he can return in time for the Marblehead game in two weeks. Stasio is day-to-day and may possibly get back this week, if things check out with the doctor.
The biggest bright spot in the game was Milano who had a hand in all four Winthrop touchdowns as he tossed two scores to McCarthy and Mark Jenkins on 12 of 23 passing for 246 yards and also added 18 yards and two touchdowns on the ground on five carries. The one blemish on his day was five interceptions.
Jenkins caught eight of Milano’s passes for 177 yards and the one score, while senior Frank Ambrosino added one catch for 35 yards.
Other offensive contributions came from Chris Strangie, seven carries for 25 yards, and Rich Ferrino who chipped in 11 yards on two carries.
On defense, Anthony Hatzisavas earned the Blackshirt Award best defensive player. Hatzisavas had a forced fumble and a fumble recovery and led the team in tackles.
“Obviously, this gives us two losses in the division and a record of 3-5 overall, so we have adjusted our goals for this season and now we’ll focus on finishing the year with a winning record,” said Driscoll. “We have three games left, they are all at home and so we feel like we can win all three games and finish 6-5. We haven’t had a losing season here in nine years and we don’t want to start now.”
That effort to finish the season strong begins Friday at 7 p.m. at Miller Field against Danvers on November 6.
Next up after Danvers will be the Marblehead on Friday, November 13 and the season finale will be played at Miller Field on Thanksgiving Day against archrival Revere.