The Winthrop Vikings battled a wet and wild Saturday afternoon last week and ended up falling in a 35-7 loss at Beverly, that dropped them to 1-3 on the season. The loss will be followed by a short turnaround this week as Winthrop travels to Weston tonight (Thursday, Oct. 6) for a rare Thursday night game.
“The final score last week really looked worse than we felt the game went,” explained head coach Sean Driscoll. “The score was 13-0 at the half, but we just missed on a great chance to score right before the half and that was really the story of the game for us on Saturday. We seemed to come up just short on the big third and fourth down plays when we needed them.”
The Vikings actually moved the ball well against the Panthers, getting 82 rushing yards from Mitchell Paulson on 17 carries and another 60 on the ground from Jordan Corbett-Franks on 15 carries. Unfortunately, they were unable to punch the ball into the end zone until a big fourth down pass play from Jimmy Barker to Jake McKinnon late in the third quarter make the score 21-7.
“Jimmy (Barker) is doing what we need him to do. We‘re a running team and his overall game was very good for us,” said Driscoll of his senior signal caller, who completed seven of 14 pass for 94 yards and the touchdown. Barker also had one pick that was returned for a touchdown.
Despite Barker’s strong game, the turning point for the Vikings likely came on the interception, as they had moved the ball inside the Beverly 30, following an on-sides kick, and were looking to score for the second time in as many possessions.
“Beverly was really surprised by the play and we were able to get the ball back right after our touchdown,” said Driscoll.
Unfortunately, a drive that appeared to be headed to a 21-14 score, resulted in a 28-7 score and the momentum shifted to Beverly at that point.
“In the fourth quarter, I think they just wore us down, then late in the game, we pulled most of our starters trying to avoid the injury bug and get some game experience for our younger players,” said Driscoll.
Despite the bad run of luck, Driscoll did single out a few of his players for their efforts in the game.
“Matt Stasio, on both sides of the ball just gave an outstanding effort. He’s really the heart and soul of the team,” said the coach. “Jimmy continues to improve at quarterback.”
Paulson’s strong running game didn’t result in a touchdown this week, but Driscoll pointed out that the senior ball carrier has been a very good offensive player for the team all year.
“Whether he’s on offense or defense, he really only has one speed and that fast,” said Driscoll. “I’d also like to mention our freshman inside linebacker Tyler Gill, who was making his second start for us. He’s learning his way very quickly and really filling in well for us at that position.”
Looking ahead, Driscoll noted that Weston, like Winthrop will enter tonight’s game with a 1-3 record that is more a result of the quality of competition they’ve been facing, rather than a reflection of their abilities.
“I think this is a really good game for us,” said Driscoll. “This is a team that’s a lot like us and it should be a good test, but I feel it’s almost a must win for us, because we want to get some momentum on our side as we head into our division.”