One of the great things about sports is that it only takes one moment or one performance to elevate yourself or your team in to school history.
Just ask former Winthrop linebacker Freddie Long about his game-saving tackle versus Lynn English game in 1992 as the Vikings knocked the Bulldogs from the ranks of the unbeaten and sent Winthrop ultimately on to a Super Bowl. Or quarterback Keith Gorman’s spectacular effort in a monumental win at Hurd Stadium in Beverly a year later. That team also played in the Super Bowl.
Winthrop’s senior linebacker Mike Ferrino had one of those memorable efforts that might be the momentum igniter that propels the 2012 Vikings on to a special place, a journey that begins tonight in a crucial home game versus Saugus.
Ferrino was all over the field on defense and even in the opposing end zone when he was credited with a safety that became the difference in Winthrop’s 9-7 victory over Arlington Catholic last Friday night at Miller Field.
Winthrop (2-3) prevailed in a defensive struggle with Ferrino, senior lineman James Feeley, newly installed linebacker David Gallo, senior Jake McKinnon, and nose guard Eric Castro leading the way.
“The coach worked us hard all week in practice and he kept us focused,” said Ferrino moments after the game. “Coach told us that we needed this big win to start off our season heading into our league schedule.”
Ferrino had tackles, sacks, other hard hits on the beleagured Arlington Catholic quarterback – and the aforementioned safety.
Winthrop coach Sean Driscoll affirmed that defense was the difference.
“Our defense played hard and had a very good game,” said Driscoll. “The defense made some big stops especially in the fourth quarter.
Driscoll said that Ferrino was a difference maker from start to finish.
“Mike Ferrino was the outstanding defensive player of the night along with some help from David Gallo,” said Driscoll. “Ferrino had one heckuva game at outside linebacker. He really avoided blocks and played the position like it was meant to be played. He really got off the football well and made plays. He kepy us in the game with his aggressiveness off the edge.”
Arlington Catholic took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter but Winthrop responded in the second frame. Ruben Powell scored on a 3-yard run and Eric Castro booted the PAT to tie the game at 7-7.
Powell finished a strong performance with 13 carries for 68 yards.
Quarterback Dylan Driscoll and running back Bo Diaz tried to jump-start the offense but coach Driscoll said his team was unable to produce consistently against the Arlington front line.
The game-winning points would arrive via a safety when Ferrino disrupted an Arlington Catholic play and the ball squirted through the end zone.
Feeley had a key fumble recovery and knocked down a pass after a furious pass rush with AC threatening to score in the final quarter.
Winthrop hosts Saugus in its first intra-division game.
“Saugus has 23 seniors returning and they’re a really good team,” said Driscoll. “They run the triple-option and they’re off to a great start. We have to try to match their intensity and we’re going to try to do little things that make us better.”