Sports 11-30-2016

Patriots make it a winning season with 14-7 victory over Winthrop

As fans watched the Revere High football team exult on the field in the aftermath of their 14-7 victory over Winthrop on Thanksgiving morning, it was evident from the joy in their voices, faces, and body language that this was a moment that every Patriot will remember for the rest of his life.

The Turkey Day triumph not only lifted coach Lou Cicatelli’s squad to a final record of 6-5, marking the first back-to-back winning seasons for the RHS football program in more than 30 years, but it also culminated a run of six wins in their final seven games after a tough 0-4 start.

And to have accomplished those feats against the arch-rival Vikings before a big crowd on the holiday on their home turf of McCarthy Field at Harry Della Russo Stadium — well, it doesn’t get any better than that for a Revere High football player.

“This has been one of my favorite teams to coach,” said Cicatelli afterwards, who was doused with the traditional cooler of water (no Gatorade on turf fields!) by his players at the final whistle. “They could have thrown in the towel when we started off 0-4, but they persevered, dug deep, and believed in each other.

“They had faith in the coaches and we had faith in them and it all paid off with a winning season,” added Cicatelli, who made note of the superb effort of his coaching staff throughout the season. “The assistant coaches all put in a lot of hours and conversations and watching film. I could not have done it without them.”

The holiday jinx that has bedeviled Revere football players and fans for the better part of the past 40 years of their rivalry with Winthrop appeared ready to strike again when Winthrop recovered the opening kickoff on an apparent onside-kick that was the equivalent of a pop-up. The ball traveled about 15 yards in the air — a short pop-up — and a Winthrop player caught it before hit the ground.

However, after the teams had sent out their respective offensive and defensive teams, a brief conference among the refs resulted in a reversal of fortune, turning the Winthrop jubilation into Patriot joy. Winthrop had interfered with the potential kick receiver — the Vikings had failed to allow a Patriot to catch the kick — and thus Revere was awarded both the ball and a 15 yard penalty for a first down at the Winthrop 41 yard line.

Revere then utilized its Mr. Inside (senior captain Anthony DeStefano), Mr. Outside (captain Victor Rivera), and Mr. Everything-in-Between (Oscar Lopez) to march the 41 yards on nine plays, all on the ground, with Anthony De. going over from one yard out at the 6:32 mark of the first period.

Badr Haou — who has been more dependable on point-after kicks than Stephen Gostkowski — drilled the ball through the uprights for a 7-0 Patriot lead.

However, Winthrop struck back on its ensuing possession, though not quite with the ease that Revere had shown. The Patriot defense appeared to have the Vikings stymied on three occasions  — a 3rd and 10 at the Revere 48; a third-and-seven at the Revere 45; and a third-and-three at the Revere 24 — but each time Winthrop managed to find a way (including a pass interference call against the Pats) to keep the chains moving.

Winthrop ultimately tied the score and kicked the conversion to knot matters at 7-7 as the game headed into the second period.

The defenses held firm for both teams on the next exchange of possessions, with Revere getting the better of the field position when the Pats took over at their own 36 with five minutes left in the half.

The Patriots returned to the success they had enjoyed in their opening drive, mixing runs up the middle with DeStefano and around the edge with the speedy Rivera, and then utilizing Lopez to keep the Viking defense off-balance.

Twice Revere made successful fourth down conversions — DeStefano on a  fourth-and-one at the Revere 45 and quarterback Eddie Sullivan (who once again as he has done all season, did a superb job at the helm of the Patriot ship) barely squeezing over center for a half-yard at the Winthrop 25 — to keep the drive alive as the half ticked down to less than two minutes to go.

Lopez powered for nine yards on first down to the Winthrop 16 and then the speedy Rivera turned a broken play, on which he reversed direction, into a seven yard gain for a first-and-goal at the Winthrop nine with 47 seconds on the clock.

DeStefano got the call on first down. Despite apparently being stopped by two Winthrop defenders who had filled Anthony’s intended lane over the right tackle, he bounced off the would-be tacklers, made a quick shuffle to his left, and waltzed into the end zone. Haou’s second PAT made it 14-7.

Winthrop almost struck right back with a near-return for six on the kickoff, but a TD-saving, shoestring tackle by Jonathan Murphy at midfield prevented a disheartening twist of fate for the Patriots.

Rivera then made a sensational leaping interception of a Viking pass on first down at the Revere 18 to finally end the half with the Patriots holding the advantage.

Winthrop threatened to tie the game at the outset of the second half, taking the kickoff at its own 31 and driving as far as the Revere seven where the Vikings were sitting pretty with a first-and-goal. However, a penalty for a chop-block in the backfield — the Patriots had been called for a similar offense earlier in the game — set the Vikings back to a first-and-goal at the 22.

An incomplete pass was followed on second down by a Viking fumble — Winthrop’s second turnover of the day (to none for Revere) — that was forced on a big hit by Fernando Chocoj and recovered by Patriot defensive lineman Frank Simms at the Revere 18, squelching the Winthrop scoring opportunity.

The Winthrop drive had taken almost 10 minutes off the clock (of the 11 minutes in the period), and Revere took over with 1:37 left in the third quarter.

Winthrop’s frustration was evident on the first Revere play from scrimmage, a three-yard gain by DeStefano that turned into an 18 yard advance thanks to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Vikings.

However, the Revere drive eventually ended with a punt on a fourth-and-six at the Patriots’ 46. DeStefano booted a beauty, away from the Winthrop return man, that took a wonderful Revere bounce and roll all the way to the Winthrop seven with 8:22 to go.

The Vikings marched half the length of the field, but the Patriot defense rose to the occasion on a fourth-and-six at the Winthrop 49, stopping the Winthrop runner  a yard shy of the big first down.

“Our defense came up big when it had to,” said Cicatelli, who lauded the defensive efforts of captains John DeSimone, DeStefano, and Rivera, Sims, and Lopez.

Revere took over at its own 46 with 3:36 to play and never gave the ball back to the Vikings, who had used all but one of their time-outs. Rivera came through in a huge way with a 12-yard run around right end on a third-and-nine on which Victor seemingly willed his way past the marker for a first down at the Winthrop 41.

The big first down allowed Revere to run out the clock — and the Patriots had brought home the Beachcomber Trophy, symbolic of the victor on Thanksgiving Day.

The Revere coaching staff and players posed triumphantly on-field for celebratory team photos as the sun fittingly broke out and shone brightly on the glistening trophy, placing an exclamation point on a glorious and memorable day for Revere High players, coaches, and fans alike.

Cicatelli named NEC South

Coach of the Year; Rivera

named top Offensive Player

Accolades poured in for the Revere High football team at Monday night’s post-season meeting of the Northeastern Conference coaches.

Veteran  RHS head coach Lou Cicatelli, who guided his Patriots to a 6-5 record after an 0-4 start, was honored as the NEC South’s Coach of the Year. The Patriots finished in second place in the South Division and achieved a winning record, marking the first back-to-back winning seasons for the RHS football program in more than 30 years.

Senior captain Victor Rivera also was a major honoree, receiving the coaches’ vote as the South Division’s Offensive Player of the Year. The speedy Rivera was the most dynamic runner in the league this season who was a threat to break away for a long gain every time he touched the ball.

Joining Victor on the South All-Star squad were fellow senior captain Anthony DeStefano, senior Eddie Sullivan, senior Oscar Lopez, and sophomores Frank Sims and Badr Haou.

RhS sports Through the Years

10 years ago

November 29, 2006

The Revere High football team ended its season at 0-11 on Thanksgiving at Harry Della Russo Stadium after a 38-0 loss to a powerhouse Winthrop squad that took a 30-0 lead at the half. The undefeated Vikings have averaged 40 points per game and are set to become a Super Bowl playoff team. Despite the defeat, RHS head coach Lou Cicatelli said he was proud of the effort his team displayed this season. The Revere squad may win a gold or silver academic award from the MIAA, which recognizes athletic teams whose players meet all of their academic requirements. The loss marks the 16th defeat in the past 17 years to Winthrop on the holiday and the 29th of the past 32 encounters.

20 years ago

November 27, 1996

Revere High record-setting running back Marc Silvestri will lead the Patriots into the annual battle with Winthrop on the holiday. A fierce contest is expected between the teams, with Revere seeking to break into the win column in the schools’ Turkey Day rivalry for only the third time in the past 22 years.

30 years ago

December 3, 1986

The Revere High football team absorbed another one-sided loss to Winthrop on Thanksgiving Day, 31-6, at Harry Della Russo Stadium. RHS quarterback Joe Galvin ran 41 yards for a touchdown on a keeper to bring Revere within 14-6 in the second period, but that was as close as the Patriots would get. Winthrop totaled 353 yards of offense compared to 135 for Revere, which has dropped 11 of the last 12 Turkey Day tilts with Winthrop.

The Revere High PowderPuff football team dropped a heartbreaking 18-14 decision to Winthrop thanks to a touchdown by the Winthrop team on the final play of the game, a reverse around right end that went for 38 yards. The Revere girls appeared to have won the game when they stopped a Winthrop runner at the Revere 38 with time set to expire, but Revere was called for a penalty for tackling the Winthrop runner and two seconds was put back on the clock. Winthrop’s Sheila Kennedy was the girl who was fouled and then who made the 38 yard TD. She also scored the other two Winthrop touchdowns. Deana Correia and Deane Mantia scored the Revere TDs. Revere has yet to win in the 10-game history of the series, with a record of 0-8-2.

 40 years ago

November 24, 1976

Coach Silvio Cella’s RHS football team will be seeking to avenge last year’s 24-0 loss to Winthrop when the teams take to the field at Harry Della Russo Stadium for the annual Thanksgiving Day game between the two arch rivals. The Patriots, who have won 10 of the last 15 games between the teams and three of the last four, will be led into the fray by captains John Festa and Mike Bruzzese. The RHS cheering team will be led on the sidelines by captains Sandra D’Ettore and Robin Ellsworth.

  50 years ago

December 1, 1966

The Revere High football team concluded its season with a 6-0 victory over Winthrop on Thanksgiving Day before 6500 fans at Paul Revere Stadium. Ron Ferullo tossed a 16 yard TD pass to Tony DiLisio for the winning score that climaxed a 93 yard drive in the final period. A 27 yard run by DiLisio, the biggest gain of the day by either team in the defensive struggle, keyed the long drive. Revere ended its season with a winning record of 4-3-1.

60 years ago

November 29, 1956

St. Mary’s of Lynn defeated Revere, 13-7, for its first win in the schools’ four-game rivalry on Thanksgiving Day before 5000 fans. Joe Kelfer scored the lone TD for the Blue & White on a 13-yard run in the final period. Kelfer had two other touchdowns called back, those coming on a 69 yard run and a 55-yard reception from quarterback Joe Merullo. Revere ends the season with a 4-5 record.

The Immaculate Conception High football team closed out its season with a smashing 32-13 win over Cathedral Saturday morning. The victory caps a Catholic League championship for coach Ron Corbett’s squad. Three members of the team have been named league all-stars, end John McSweeney, guard Marty Feerick, and halfback Al Cassidy.

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