Sports 12-01-2016

The McLean Tennis Courts

By: Jim Lederman

I attended the meeting with the Town Council to save the Wallace B. McClean Tennis Court. I have fond memories of Wallace McClean from 1960.

Wallace McClean was a coach and former WHS athletic director until 1972. ‘Maxie’ as he was known as was a highly respected teacher and coach in the old WHS building on Pauline Street. Just ask ex-WHS athletes like Bob DeFelice, Frank ‘Buster’ Ferrara, Jimmy Evans or captain Mike Eruzione.

Mr. McClean was athletic director in 1972 when the Vikings recorded outstanding records in football (8-1(), basketball (17-1), hockey and baseball.

‘Coach Max’ was a University of Rhode Island graduate. When I applied to URI, I asked Mr. McLean for a letter of recommendation. Coach Jack MacDonald was another URI grad. Jack was an ‘All-Yankee’ Conference selection in football – Go Rams!

The meeting before the Town Council was filled to capacity and was very passionate!

Marie Finn, Boys Tennis Coach and Kenny Hodgkins Jr., girls Tennis Coach, spoke very eloquently about problems that would happen if the McLean courts are torn down. It is simple logic to have the courts next to the new high school (use of courts for gym classes and bathroom facilities).

John Domenico, the highly respected ex-WHS principal and tennis and baseball coach. Dr. Domenico (he has a PHD in tennis) gold of the history of the McClean Courts and the deplorable condition and distractions at Ingleside Park.

I spoke with the legendary ex-Viking athlete and US Olympic hockey and gold medal winner (1980) Michael Eruzione. (Do you believe in miracles?) Michael recalled skating in 1970-1972 on the courts at 6 a.m. in the morning before he attended classes at WHS.

The need for additional parking across form the new WHS Middle/High/School is not justified. I have counted the parking available at two recent events at WHS. (The 2016 Hall of Fame induction and the Dedication of the new Neil Shapiro Auditorium and Arts Center).

The committee has been hard at work to justify why the courts should not be removed. I received phone calls from an ex-WHS building committee member and an ex-football teammate of yours truly – Richard Lawton – we all believe that the courts should remain and rebuilt. Also Bill Schmidt, ex-Viking and Ivy League grad of Columbia.

Call Marie Finn for your support.

‘It takes a village.”

That’s the cry for the right choice!

See you at the Courts!

Let the Games Begin! (at the McClean Courts)

Holiday Leftovers

The ‘Battle of the Beaches’ in Revere, brings back tons of memories. When I walked into the new Harry Della Russo Stadium, I had to flash back to the ‘old stadium’ Paul Revere Stadium.

I walked down Park Avenue and recalled two legendary buildings. The Dublin Café on the corner, the place would be filled with ex-Vikings and many WHS alumni, pre-game and after another Winthrop victory – Celebration after the game Marcus Lumber Company was a Revere institution – owned by Marcus Greenstein – my father’s best friend – a University of Rhode Island graduate and huge ‘Ram’s’ supporter, he helped me to go to the University of Rhode Island (1962).

I entered HDR with my broadcast partner Al Petrilli; we were greeted by Dick Dimes, the legendary Winthrop politician. He is a ‘spry’ 90 years young and never misses a Vikings Thanksgiving game!

Standing at the railing were two legendary ex-WHS athletes coach Jack MacDonald (URI) and Jimmy Evans (Springfield) and the outstanding former Viking athletic director – they played hoop in their old Memorial Gym!

The stands were filled with many ex-Vikings. When the final whistle sounded, we were all stunned with the results. Only the third Viking loss in the last 40 years in Revere. (14-7) Revere!

I was greeted by my ex-teammate and Winthrop’s legendary football coach – Robert A. DeFelice, I remember walking out of Revere and greeted by a smiling Anthony ‘Lefty’ DeFelice for so many years – Coach Defa had a 33-game unbeaten Vikings streak.

I hope we can look forward to the new Miller Field in 2017! We have to rebuild the ‘once powerful’ Winthrop Viking football tradition! I hope that strong Winthrop Youth Football program will produce Viking standouts, so we can celebrate on Thanksgiving in the years to come.

Let the Games Begin!

Beat Revere!

Around the NEC

Swampscott – Marblehead at the battle of two long time rivals, has turned into a one-sided game. The undefeated (11-0) Magicians are playing at Gillette Stadium in the D-Z Super bowl. Marblehead 27 – Swampscott 6.

The Magicians have captured four consecutive NEC titles (reminds me of the Bob DeFelice era – 33-game win streak). Marblehead has an outstanding coach Jim Rudloff. The Big Blue (two consecutive (4-7) losing seasons) has gone down hill after the loss of coach Steve Dembrowskiluhois coach at Milton.

The Vikings dominated the Big Blue (20-7-should have been 28-7) in the rain at East Boston Stadium (worst lights on North Shore) coach Sean Driscoll has won 4 out of last 5 games vs. the ‘once’ mighty Big Blue.

Beverly 27 – Salem 0

Beverly finished strong in the MIAA playoffs before facing powerhouse Duxbury (48-14 loss). Did they get a new press box at the once legendary Hurd Stadium? Do you remember two ex-Viking all-scholastics, Chuck Sullivan and ‘Touchdown Tony’ Palmer showing why they rank in the top five of great WHS backs. Did all-star center, Gus Martucci really throw the key block on Sullivan’s 76-yard wining touchdown? Or was it Bubba Jaworski or Mike Brenner? The 1981 Vikings rank as number one – super bowl champions (nine division one college players).

Winthrop 14 – Tewksbury 0

Only Joe Crotty is still cheering for Redmen!

I received a call from former All-American high school back Steve Staffier (University of Miami) thanking me for picture and Viking head, in honor of his 1984 NEC championship track teams induction into the 2016 Hall of Fame induction (300 attended). Kudos to coach Pat McGee – the legendary “Lady of WHS Track.”

Peabody 56 – Saugus 6

What is the future of the Saugus Sachems football program? The Sachems finished (1-10)

Marblehead (11-0) and Falmouth (11-0) will battle for a super bowl championship at Gillette Stadium on Saturday.

The Marblehead football program has been on the rise (4 NEC titles) with a new stadium and track. The Marblehead enrollment increased from 775 to 1,100 with Marblehead keeping all their youth players will a ‘new Miller Field’ help the Vikings?

Faces in the Crowd

A capacity crowd filled Harry Della Russo Stadium in Revere on the holiday. Alumni and teammates, strong Vikings fans and many families hoping for a Vikings victory. The Revere fans left the stadium; the Winthrop fans were asking what happened to the end of the 2016 season?

Winthrop oldest and most loyal fan and a man highly respected in our community, Richard Dimes 90 years young! Dick Dimes never misses a Thanksgiving Game!

Two ex-WHS athletes, teammates and former coaches, Jack MacDonald and former athletic director Jimmy Evans are huge Viking football supporters.

Rob DeMarco visited Al Petrilli and ‘the Voice’ in the press box. The game will be broadcast next week – where is the new cable to connect the Vikings TV studio? Three months is not good!

Tino Capobianco my halftime guest – big booster of Vikings sports. Tino has strong Viking Pride and attends many Viking games!

Vikings fall to Revere, 14-7 in annual holiday contest

By: Jim Lederman

The 86th game in the Revere-Winthrop series was filled with many exciting plays. The Patriots (6-5) defeated the Vikings (3-8). Behind the key play of senior captain Anthony DeStefano and Victor Rivera. Before a huge crowd that filled Harry Della Russo Stadium on Thanksgiving.

The Vikings kicked off to start the game. Big junior tackle Calvin Tufa kicked a perfect onside kick that was recovered by a Viking player. The officials ruled interference by a Viking and the Patriots received their first break of the game. The Patriots scored on their first possession captain Anthony DeStefano (5-11-235) carried the ball the final 30 yards to give the Patriots a (6-0) lead at 5:11 of the first quarter.

The Vikings responded on a long drive. Co-captain Jon “Gonzo” Gonzales scored from 11-yards out (6-0) Calvin Tufa split the uprights (7-7) tie.

The Patriots scored with 11 seconds left until half time, when DeStefano eluded a Viking tackler and drove into the end zone to give the Patriots a (14-7) halftime advantage.

The Vikings drove to the Revere seven-yard line and a first and goal. A key penalty (blocking/chop block) cost the Vikings a 15-yard penalty and the chance to tie the football game in the second quarter.

The second half was lost when the Vikings suffered with key injuries to Zuffante and Gonzales that killed the offense for the final two quarters.

Revere finished their season with a winning record (6-5) and second place in the NEC South to Gloucester.

On the HDR Turf

Weather conditions were perfect after predictions for snow or rain showers. The first half was played even until the last second Patriots touchdown.

The Harry Della Russo scoreboard was tied (7-7) in the second quarter when a key defensive play that could have turned the ‘Revere Beach Tide’ was executed. Zuffante passed a perfect 30-yard toss to Jaidon Brown only to have Rivera knock it out of Brown’s hand. We were anticipating more Zuffante passes – his second half injury was devastating to the Vikings!

Chris passed only six times in the game, his only target was the speedy junior halfback Jaidon Brown.

Chris should have been the leading passer in the NEC. Compare his talent to Colin Frary of Swampscott. Frary had 12 touchdown passes in a Big Blue spread offense. Final score when they played Vikings 20 – Swampscott 7!

Victor Rivera (9-50) and DeStefano (12-65) led the ground attack for the Patriots!

The Vikings ground game was led by Zuffante (46 yards), Gonzalez (52) and Brown (48) yards. When Zuffante was on the sidelines, he could have passed for many more completions that could be the key to a Vikings victory at HDR.

Revere finished (6-5) for only their second winning season in 35 years! We have to wait 12 months to recapture “the Beach Comber” trophy! It rests in Revere!

The key to the Pats victory – the offensive line controlled the game. I could not believe Revere did not self-destruct with penalties like in the past years! Revere attempted only one pass – Winthrop attempted six passes. The Vikings did not test the Revere secondary. Chris Zuffante should have had 2 touchdown passes. The Patriots were weak on pass defense.

Rivera (the best all-around back) was the standout on both sides of the ball. The touchdown just before half was decisive, it was a one score game until the end. We hope to open the new Miller Field in 2017 with a victory over Revere!

The Vikings and Patriots were evenly matched. Winthrop lost Zuffante and Gonzales with injuries during the game. Zuffante was out 10 minutes! Co-captain Matt Tarantino, the best defensive player in the field from his linebacker position – had tackles and a huge 8-yard sack of Revere quarterback Eddie Sullivan. ‘Big number 33” was solid in the big game, despite playing with a very severe back injury (I visited #33 in the trainers room at 7:30 a.m.) The final game in a very disappointing year – due to many injured players (seven players out with concussions). The poor rainy conditions playing eight games on the road.

When will Miller Field be completed?

The Vikings were “Road Warriors” and we all look forward to the year they play six games on the new Miller Field!

WHS sports years

10 years ago

November 30, 2006

The Winthrop High football team advanced to the Division 2A Super Bowl, set for this Saturday against Wareham, with a dramatic 21-14 victory over Masconomet Tuesday evening at Cawley Stadium in Lowell in the Division 2A North contest. The Vikings had crushed Masco, 42-21, in the second game of the regular season, but Tuesday’s playoff encounter came down to the final moments of the game, with Winthrop sealing the victory only when Viking safety James Fucillo jumped a Masco pass route to make an interception. The Viking defense prior to that had made three goal-line stands to thwart Masco scoring opportunities. Jason Griffin ran for one Winthrop touchdown and Fucillo tossed a five yard pass to Mark Shannon for another. Matt Murray ran for 101 yards on 13 carries and made a big tackle on a fourth-down play at the Winthrop goal line. WHS linebacker Phil Hamilton also was a stalwart on defense with 14 tackles. Winthrop tuned up for the Masco tilt with a 38-0 rout of Revere on Thanksgiving Day at Harry Della Russo Stadium. The win gave Winthrop a perfect 11-0 record for the regular season and an undisputed Northeastern Conference championship.

30 years ago

December 10, 1986

The Winthrop High Powderpuff football team remained undefeated in its rivalry with Revere thanks to an 18-14 victory on the day before Thanksgiving. Winthrop’s Sheila Kennedy raced around end on a double-reverse and scooted 38 yards on the final play of the game. The contest should have ended when Kennedy was stopped on the previous play, but Revere was called for a penalty when Kennedy was tackled, leaving Winthrop with one more chance at victory.

 Kennedy also scored the other two Winthrop touchdowns. Coach Jay Guthro’s Winthrop team now stands at 8-0-2 in the series with Revere.

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