Sean Driscoll knows football and when your team rushes for 305 yards, your quarterback, son Dylan Driscoll accounts for 113 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, and your go-to captain, Jordan Corbett has another stellar performance (141 yards rushing, TD) – you’re supposed to leave the field with a victory.
But the Viking head coach also knows that the defense must make plays as well, and that was the Vikings’ downfall in a 30-29 loss to Peabody Friday night at Miller Field.
“We played the worst possible game of football defensively that we’ve played in some time,” said Driscoll, whose team had shut out Salem one week earlier. “This was a major step back defensively against a team that we should have beaten.”
Driscoll cited 35 missed tackles as the primary reason for the defensive misstep.
Peabody took a 29-28 lead with 1:35 left on a touchdown and two-point conversion but Winthrop drove to the Tanners’ 18-yard line. Jake Chuidina, substituting for regular placekicker Vinny Sparacino, just missed connecting on a 35-yard field goal attempt on the game’s final play.
“He just missed it to the left, but our effort at the end of the game was outstanding,” said Driscoll.
Much was at stake in the game against the former GBL giant and Division 1 opponent. In the MIAA’s new points system, a win would have all but locked up a playoff berth. But the door to a championship remains wide open: If Winthrop beats Classical Friday night at Miller Field and Danvers the following Friday, the Vikings will be conference champions and playoff bound.
“We still control our own destiny,” said Driscoll. “If we can sneak a win out against a very good Classical team this week, we’ll play Danvers for the championship the following week. We’re up against the wall right now and we’ll see how we respond. But there’s no doubt in mind that we’ll play a lot better defense this week.”
Dylan Driscoll’s two TDs included a 65-yard run for a score. The junior signal caller also threw a touchdown pass to Vinny Sparacino and had a two-point rush for a conversion.
Sparacino (24 yards) and Corbett-Frank (37 yards) had two pass receptions while Chuidina had one catch for 16 yards.
Sophomore Reise Turransky, son of former Viking standout Andrew Turransky, had eight rushes for 51 yards, including a long gainer of 13 yards.
Sean Driscoll said Classical is also vying for a playoff berth. “Classical is going to try come in here and use its power game, so it’s going to be interesting how it’s going to play out.”
All three of Winthrop’s victories have been on the road while the Vikings are 0-2 at home. “If we can get our first home win against Classical, we will have a big game at Miller Field [on Oct. 25].