Patriots Edge English in Thriller, 31-29

Revere hosts Cambridge Saturday morning at 10:00 Two down and two to go. 

The Revere High football team pulled out its biggest victory in more than a generation with a thrilling, come-from-behind, 31-29 triumph over Lynn English Thursday evening at Harry Della Russo Stadium.

“This was big, really big, for our program,” said RHS head coach Lou Cicatelli, whose Patriots now stand at 5-1 overall and 2-0 in Division 1 in the Cape Ann League/Northeastern Conference.

“This is very exciting for the team and for the entire city.”

The win places the Pats into first place in the D1 CAL/NEC. Victories over the other two teams in that conference, Lynn Classical and Masconomet, will give Revere the D1 CAL/NEC title and catapult the Patriots into the post season state playoffs for the first time since the Super Bowl team in the early 1970s.

Thursday’s contest, which was moved up from Friday by mutual agreement because of the forecast for rain on Friday which would have turned the already-muddied field at HDR into a mosh pit, was one of the most thrilling to be played on the local field in many years, especially given the stakes.

The Patriots dominated the contest from the outset, taking a 14-7 lead at the half and then methodically building it into a 28-7 bulge after three quarters. Revere asserted control on the second play from scrimmage when Tom Portrait burst 59 yards for a touchdown. Jeff Simbert, whose foot would play a key role right to the very end of the game, converted the PAT to make it 7-0.

Revere made it 14-0 in the second period when quarterback Joe Ritchie found a seam and scooted 24 yards to paydirt. English finally put together a drive against the tough Patriot defense to get on the board before the intermission to leave matters at 14-7.

The Patriot offense continued to move up and down the field in the third quarter. Portrait (120 yards rushing and 35 yards receiving) and Ritchie (250 yards in the air on 10-for-15 passing) once again found the English endzone on runs of 17 and 25 yards respectively. With Simbert successfully booting two more PATs, the Pats were in command, 28-7.

Kyle Gotham also played a huge role for the Patriots on both sides of the ball through the first three frame. Gotham grabbed five of Ritchie’s passes for 150 yards and played, in the words of Cicatelli, “like a beast on defense,” with eight tackles including three quarterback sacks.

So with a 21 point lead firmly in hand as the teams prepared to start the final quarter, a Revere victory seemed all but assured.

Or so it seemed.

As suddenly as a beautiful summer day on Revere Beach can be spoiled by an afternoon squall, so too did the Patriots’ evening of fun come to a crashing halt. Over the span of barely five minutes, all of Revere’s  fine work through  the first three periods was washed away. By the time the English storm had passed, the Revere lead had entirely dissipated.

English brought in its sophomore reserve quarterback and the Bulldogs soon began to show that they had some bite. The sequence of events over the next five minutes proved to be a pre-Halloween horror show for the Patriots: A 55 yard TD pass; an English interception of a Revere aerial at midfield; a 49 yard English TD pass on the next play; a Revere three-and-out; and then a 34 yard English TD pass.

Although Patriot Damien Strait blocked the English PAT attempt on the first of the three scores, the Bulldogs successfully converted two, two-point conversions, which when they all were added up, brought the scoreboard to a reading of 29-28 in favor of the Bulldogs.

Some teams may have been completely deflated by the dramatic change of circumstances, but the Patriots regrouped and, with Ritchie at the helm,  launched a counterattack with under five minutes to play.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, as long as there is time left on the clock, this team will find a way to win,” said Cicatelli.

Starting at his own 40, Ritchie expertly directed the Revere offense,  which included a crucial completion to Steve Piazza on a fourth down and 12 that picked up 26 yards. Revere got as far as the Lynn English five yard line with less than a minute to go when they faced a fourth down.

Cicatelli without hesitation brought in his field goal unit, putting the game squarely on the snap from center, the placement of the ball, and then the foot of Simbert, who had been a perfect 4 for 4 on the day on his PAT’s.

All went according to plan (and practice) and Simbert’s kick split the uprights to reinstate the Patriot lead, 31-29. English got the ball back and made a last ditch drive of their own, but the Revere defense held firm as the clock ran out on the Bulldogs’ final gasp at the Revere 35.

However, the victory was not without its setbacks. An already injury-riddled Patriot team lost the services in the opening period of stellar  two-way lineman Marvin Rios with a possible wrist fracture. Marvin’s status will not be know until later this week.

The Patriots will depart from their CAL/NEC schedule this week to take on former Greater Boston League rival Cambridge. The Cantabs, who are 3-4, have shown an ability to put up some big numbers on the scoreboard. They have scored 30 or more points in five of their games, including 30 against Everett (22 of which came in the first half).

However, Cambridge also has shown a willingness to give them up, with two foes, Everett and Shawsheen, both going over 50 points against the Cambridge defense.

Although the contest will not count in the league standings for Revere, a victory by the Patriots will achieve a milestone sixth victory, a feat not achieved by a Revere football team since the 7-2 season of 1981 (which perhaps not so coincidentally was Cicatelli’s own senior year team at RHS).

“We’re taking things one week at a time,” said Cicatelli. “We’re aiming to win our division and to have the best record that a Revere team has had in a long time.”

Cicatelli gave a lot of credit to his coaching staff, Jose Escobar, Vinnie Gregorio, Manny Velez, Lucia Robinson, and Dan DeChristoforo, both for  the English win and the team’s record to date. “Our coaches have done a great job all season and they called a great game against English,” said Cicatelli.

Kick off time is Saturday at 10:00 AM at Della Russo Stadium.

Revere cross country girls ready for NEC Meet 

Although the Revere High girls cross country team came out on the short end of its final dual meet of the season to Peabody, the Lady Patriots achieved some personal records on the day.

Ashley Goodwin was all smiles as she came across the finish line with the most improved runner title, taking off over two minutes per mile on her race pace.

“I was vey proud to see Ashley push herself,” said RHS head coach Katie Sinnott.

Also achieving PRs were Jaclynne Dion and Jessica Ventura.

Sinnott and her crew now will prepare for the Northeastern Conference League meet Saturday at Bradley Palmer State Park in Topsfield.

Individual results for the Revere girls in the Peabody meet were as follows:

Nikki Nelson, seventh overall,19:21; Alanna Pasco,11th overall, 21:41; Caitlyn Caramello, 12th overall, 21:51; Hayley Mangino, 14th overall, 22:48; Jaclynne Dion, 15th overall, 22:51; Maggie DiPlatzi, 16th overall, 23:03; Jessica Ventura, 20th overall, 27:27; Ghizlane Benzerdjeb, 21st overall, 27:58; Alessandra Sabella, 22nd overall, 28:24; Rayana Benzohora, 23rd overall, 29:40; Evelyn Bonilla, 25th overall, 30:30; Monica Reyes, 26th overall, 30:49; Ashley Goodwin, 27th overall, 30:51; Catherine Monroy, 29th overall, 33:05; Michelle Vargas, 30th overall, 33:10; Jennifer Dandrow, 31st overall, 39:10; and Aouli Labeche, 32nd overall, 39:24.

Boys cross country readying for NEC meet

The Revere High boys cross country team ran into a strong Peabody squad last Wednesday on the latter’s home course which starts on the Peabody High campus and  traverses through the nearby apple orchards of Brooksby Farm over its 2.78 miles.

Although the Patriots came up short against the Tanners, who perennially are one of the strongest cross country programs in the area, RHS head coach Mike Flynn said he was pleased with his team’s performance.

“We ran well,” said Flynn. “Peabody is very good, as they always are.”

Kristi Nushi led the Patriots, as he has all season, finishing in eighth place overall in a time of 16:17.  Rawlings Toglon was the next Revere runner across the line in 12th place in 16:50, with teammate Karim Sahila next in 17:28,. John DelloRusso in 17:32, and William Truong in 17:54 to complete the Revere top five.

Also competing for the Pats were Mohamed Bensadok (18:10), Derek Fortuna (18:36), Jay Mistri (19:05), Boun Liang Che (19:14), Chris Genty (21:55), Josh Rondon (22:20), Dom Giangregorio (25:36), and Carl Bendeck (25:45).

Flynn and his crew will conclude their 2012 season in the All-League Meet of the Northeastern Conference Saturday at Bradley Palmer State Park in Topsfield. “We’re looking forward to the league meet,” said Flynn. “We hoping to run really well against the rest of the NEC.”

Volleyball team needs three wins for tourney 

The Revere High volleyball team hit a rough patch this past week, dropping all three of its contests and dealing a blow to the Lady Patriots’ chances for qualifying for a state tournament berth.

“We played well at times, but we were inconsistent,” said RHS head coach Kim Hudd, whose squad now stands at 7-9 on the season and must win all three of its remaining games in order to qualify for the post-season state tournament.

Injuries have played a key factor for the Lady Patriots, who have been without the services of starters Helen Davis and Shannon Spillane. “Our senior captains have worked really hard and have shown great leadership,” Hudd said of the trio of Valentina Lopez, Hailey Laura, and Anna Pham. The coach also cited the fine play of freshman Ally Hainojosa and junior Katie Tuck who have stepped up to help fill the void created by the injury bug.

The Lady Patriots begin their tourney quest today (Wednesday) hosting Peabody. They will entertain Swampscott on Friday that will be highlighted by Senior Night festivities and then close out the season Monday at Malden.

Girls soccer team edges Salem, 2-1 

The Revere High girls soccer team put together what coach Natalie Lyons termed a “total team effort” to post an exciting 2-1 win over Salem on Monday.

Paola Ortiz scored both of the goals for the Lady Patriots. The first came off a nice pass from Dayna Brown, who had taken the ball past midfield and then sent a nice feed to Ortiz. The game winner, which came with only seconds left on the clock, occurred after Rachel Adreani had won a dead ball.

The contest marked the debut of keeper Carolina Herrera, who played her first game in goal for the Lady Patriots.

Lyons and her crew will wrap up their 2012 season this week, traveling to Beverly today (Wednesday) and then hosting Lynn English Friday evening under the lights on the turf field for Senior Night festivities.

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