WHS Football Team Drops Opener, 21-6
Although the Winthrop High football team dropped its season-opener to Beverly, 21-6, last Friday night under the lights at Miller Field, WHS head coach Jon Cadigan saw a number of positive signs in his team’s performance that should bode well for the 2019 season.
“Overall, our defense played well,” said Cadigan. “Our offense, particularly our passing game, showed promise and is much-improved over last year.”
The contest began inauspiciously for the Vikings. A three-and-out on the opening drive of the game was followed by a bad snap on the first punt of the season that netted small yardage on the kick, giving the ball to Beverly at the Winthrop 30.
However, the Viking defense stood tall, led by linebacker Bryan Conceicao, who put a big hit on a Beverly ballcarrier, forcing a fumble that Conceicao himself recovered.
That would prove to be the first of two fumbles forced by Conceicao, who also made two sacks on the night.
“Bryan was a force on defense for us,” said Cadigan of the junior, who received the Black Shirt Award for his fine defensive effort by the coaching staff.
The Viking offense then took over and proceeded to march downfield for a long drive that produced a touchdown when junior quarterback Bobby Hubert found junior halfback Austin Daigneault on a well-designed pass play that covered 20 yards.
“We saw the Beverly safety creeping up and sent Austin out of the backfield,” said Cadigan. Hubert’s pass was on-the-money amidst the Beverly coverage and Daigneault made an acrobatic play in which he turned from his right to his left to catch the ball over his shoulder in the end zone.
The Vikings appeared to be in prime position to take their 6-0 lead (Winthrop’s PAT attempt failed) into the locker room at the intermission when Beverly faced a third-and-20 situation deep in their own territory at the end of the half.
However, the Panthers pulled off a long pass play, despite double coverage, that covered 80 yards, giving Beverly a 7-6 edge at the half.
“We had the coverage, but their receiver is a Division 1 recruit who made an outstanding catch-and-run,” said Cadigan.
The contest turned into a defensive battle in the second half before Beverly seized the advantage with five minutes to go in the game. Another big play, a 63-yard run, proved the game-breaker and the Panthers added a meaningless TD in the closing minute for the 21-6 finale.
“Those two long plays were the difference,” said Cadigan, who is in his second year at the helm of the WHS grid program after 16 seasons as an assistant coach. “We need to become more consistent on both offense and defense in order for us to get to the next level.”
In the stats department, Hubert hit on five-of-11 pass attempts for 52 yards. Bobby also was the leading rusher for the Vikings with 47 yards on 11 carries.
David Diccico was his favorite target with three receptions for 25 yards.
Ryan Hovermale rushed for 29 yards on six attempts.
A large crowd was on hand for the season-opener in support of the Vikings.
“The fans have really supported us,” noted Cadigan. “The opposing coaches were impressed with the large number of people in the stands.”
Cadigan and his crew have a bye week this week and then will host Saugus on Sept. 20, at 7 p.m. for another edition of Friday Night Lights on a glistening Miller Field.
WHS Golf Team Opens With Two Wins
The Winthrop High golf team opened its season in successful fashion this past week with a pair of victories over Northeastern Conference rivals Lynn Classical (39-33) and Salem (47.5-24.5).
“Our numbers are high this year with 17 team members, “ said WHS head coach John Cross.
The 2019 Vikings will be led by senior captain Jack Siccurella, who has played well in junior PGA tournaments this past summer.
Sicurella plays in the number one spot for Winthrop. The starting lineup in the first week has been rounded out by junior Evan Smotrich, junior Mike Gillis, junior Conlon Peterson, senior Jake Forgone, freshman Nico Sabine, freshman Connor Murphy, and freshman Colin Kinsella.
“Freshman Connor Murphy has been playing well and putting lights out,” noted Cross. “Mike Gillis has jumped from the back end of the lineup last year to the three spot this year and is doing well and winning matches.
“We have five or six freshmen with potential who will help us for the next few years to come,” Cross added.
Winthrop will host Saugus today (Thursday) and then will entertain Lynn English on Monday and Gloucester next Wednesday. All of the Vikings’ home matches will be held at the Winthrop Golf Club.
WHS Girls Soccer Team Opens Season
A veteran Winthrop High girls soccer team was set to open its season yesterday (Wednesday) at Lynn Classical.
“We have a good number of girls this year, with both full varsity and JV teams,” said long-time WHS head coach Tracey Martucci.
The varsity squad, which features 10 seniors, will by led by a trio of senior captains, Jillian Johnson, Sydney Mignosa, and Alex Gibbons.
“We had a few preseason scrimmages that went well,” noted Martucci. “We’re excited to get the season underway.”
After the opener with Classical, the Lady Vikings trek to Salem tomorrow (Friday) and will host Saugus Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. under the lights at Miller Field. They then will play at Lynn English next Thursday.
Volleyball Team Defeats Saugus
The Winthrop High volleyball team bounced back from a season-opening loss to Lynn Classical to earn a 3-0 victory over Saugus.
“The team’s communication has improved tremendously from last year and we have been working on a lot of different strategies in practice that helped us win the game,” said WHS coach Rachel DelSolio, who is co-coach of the team along with Lauren Kostegan.
The 2019 Lady Vikings are led this year by a trio of captains, senior Vita Begoli, junior Caroline Earl, and junior Carolyn Kinsella.
“They have stepped up this year as great leaders and have helped to bring positive energy to the team,” said DelSolio. “Vita is our Libero and one of our top defensive players. Carolyn is our setter and an asset to our team both with her volleyball skills and leadership qualities. Caroline is one of our top players at middle blocker and has stepped up big this year, not only as a captain but also as an essential player on the court.
“The team has improved greatly from last year,” continued DelSolio. “The varsity team is a new dynamic with players who haven’t played together before. We also have players on varsity for the first time and they have shown to be assets on the court.”
Winthrop hosted Snowden yesterday (Wednesday) and will entertain Salem tomorrow (Friday). They will play at Lynn English next Tuesday and host Swampscott next Thursday.