There is a familiar name at quarterback and a speedster in the backfield and Winthrop High Flag Football Coach John Cross is hoping that duo and other talented players can help the Vikings defeat Revere High in the annual game Saturday (noon) at Della Russo Stadium in Revere.
Olivia Driscoll, daughter of St. Mary’s High School football coach and Winthrop Parks and Recreation Director Sean Driscoll, is the Viking quarterback. Also the sister of former Winthrop star QB Dylan Driscoll, Olivia, a team captain, will bring all of that family football knowledge and athletic talent to the field as Winthrop tries to end Revere’s winning streak in the series.
“Olivia came to practice the first day with great athleticism and the will to do whatever she can do to help the team,” said Cross. “She has that spark in her which is really nice to see.
Running back Soneida Dahlquist has also looked impressive in practices. Dahlquist is one of the top athletes in the Northeastern Conference and she will use her speed and talent to test Revere’s defense.
“Soneida’s fast and she’s going to be tough for Revere to stop,” said Coach Cross.
Vita Begoli is also a threat out of the Winthrop backfield. Jill Johnson will have a dual role as a wide receiver and placekicker.
Alana Grillo, a member of the girls basketball team, will be the Vikings’ starter at the tight end position. “We have a couple of trick plays and I know Olivia will get the football to me,” said Grillo. “Our offensive line is able to make sure our quarterback doesn’t get sacked. Soneida is one of the fastest players on our team and I’ll block for her. But I think the real strength of our team is our defensive line.”
Grillo said she is a fan of the New England Patriots and her favorite player is Julian Edelman. She won’t be wearing No. 11 on her jersey, however.
“I’m a tight end so I have to wear a number in the 80s – so I’ll be No. 87 like Gronk (Rob Gronkowski).
Grillo has a strong athletic tradition in her family. Her older sister, Olivia Grillo, played varsity basketball and softball while her parents, Gary and Dana Grillo, are also former Winthrop athletes of note.
Center Sydney Mignosa, a three-sport athlete, will lead the offensive line trying to spring the Viking running backs for long gains.
On defense, team captain Charlotte Hurley will lead Winthrop’s run-stopping defense. “Charlotte is very, very fast and one of the best athletes out there,” said Cross. “She’s always around the flag on defense. She’s also one of our back-up running backs and wide receivers.”
Cornerback Hanna Capone is the leader among the Viking defensive backs.
Forty Students are Competing for Winthrop
Cross, who is being assisted by coach and WHS teacher Rachel DelSolio, said 40 Winthrop student-athletes are competing in this year’s game.
“I’m most excited about the level of interest the girls show in learning the game of football,” said Cross, who is also the WHS golf coach. “They’re super excited to be here every time we practice and that has been contagious.”
The coach is confident that Winthrop can reverse the trend of the past two years when Revere has kept the Vikings off the scoreboard.
“We can definitely beat Revere,” said Cross, a 2004 WHS graduate who competed in baseball and golf. “We want to score some points and make some stops and come home with the trophy.”
Winthrop High Principal Matt Crombie, who has attended some of the Vikings’ practices, is predicting a big win for the Vikings.
“I think we can beat Revere without a doubt,” said Crombie. “We have a great group of senior girls, a lot of good athletes that have been putting in a lot of time, so I think we can do it this year.”
Crombie is forecasting some offensive exploits by Soneida Dahlquist and productive days on defense by captain Charlotte Hurley and Devon Barry.
A New Name for the Game
In Revere, Coach Dean Papagiorgakis said the game will be henceforth called the Winthrop-Revere Flag Football Game instead of the Powder Puff Game. The former Boston Latin School athlete said the term Powder Puff dates back to the 1960s and he feels that Flag Football is a more current designation for the annual athletic event.