Sports 11-29-2017

A win for the ages:Revere 17-Winthrop 14

Badr Haou kicked a field goal with 40 seconds remaining in the game to give the Revere High football team a dramatic, 17-14 victory over archrival Winthrop in the annual Thanksgiving Day contest.

Until Haou’s clutch kick, the Patriots never had held the lead. The Blue & White found themselves chasing Winthrop from the outset when the Vikings took the opening kick-off and drove 57 yards to take a 7-0 lead at 6:16 of the first period.

The Revere defense stiffened thereafter for the remainder of the first half, but the Patriot offense sputtered, thanks primarily to penalties that thwarted Revere’s offensive momentum.

However, a pair of Winthrop turnovers, both fumbles, played a key role in a reversal of fortune in Revere’s favor by the end of the half. The first Viking fumble, which was recovered by RHS captain Edeh Balo, ended a Winthrop drive inside the Revere 30 in the first period.

The second Winthrop fumble, which was recovered by Haou, gave Revere the ball at the Winthrop 35 with 2:27 left in the half.

Revere wasted no time in taking advantage of the scoring opportunity. Quarterback Calvin Boudreau (seven-for-10 passing for 83 yards), who played all day with a poise typically not found in a freshman signal-caller, tossed a 20-yard completion on first down to Zach Furlong over the middle to move the ball to the Winthrop 15.

Junior Darius McNeil, a workhorse all day for the Patriots with 113 yards on 28 carries, moved the ball three tough yards up the middle to the Winthrop 12. Darius got the call on the next play, a sweep around left end, and sprinted to the edge, from where he outraced — and then dove past — the Winthrop defenders into the pylon for the TD.

Haou drilled the PAT to leave matters at 7-7 with 1:17 left in the half, which is where matters stood at the intermission.

The second half played out in almost identical fashion as the first. Revere took the kickoff, but soon gave the ball back to Winthrop on a fumbled snap at the Winthrop 49. The Vikings needed 10 plays to cover the distance to the end zone, and with the successful PAT, moved out to a 14-7 lead at 6:03 of the third period.

The Revere offense then rose to answer the challenge. After Furlong (four carries for 24 yards and three receptions for 38 yards) made a nice return of the kickoff to the Patriot 32, Boudreau utilized his array of weapons to march the Patriots down the field.

Furlong scooted 17 yards on the first play from scrimmage and McNeil picked up 15 yards on a third-and-nine to bring the ball to the Winthrop 35.

An 11 yard toss from Boudreau to Lucas Barbosa (five carries for 37 yards and two receptions for 14 yards) moved the chains to the Winthrop 24. McNeil then ripped off a run of 17 yards to set up Revere with a first and goal at the seven.

A first-down carry by McNeil netted one yard to the six, but Darius’s next rush brought the ball to the half-yard line. McNeil then finished the job on the next play and Haou’s kick knotted matters at 14-14 with 0:57 to play in the third period.

Thus the stage was set for a dramatic final 11 minutes. Winthrop took the ensuing kickoff and moved as far as the Revere 45 when the Winthrop quarterback mishandled the snap and Balo, whom RHS head coach Lou Cicatelli described as playing a “monster game,” came up with the ball amidst a scrum for the pigskin.

The Patriots picked up a first down on a 12-yard run by McNeil to the Winthrop 33, but turned the ball over on downs at the Winthrop 36 with 8:39 left on the clock.

The Revere defense then came through once again, forcing Winthrop into a four-and-out, with Revere taking over at its own 38 after a Viking punt of 20 yards with 6:10 remaining.

The Patriots then embarked on what will rank as one of the most memorable drives in Revere’s Thanksgiving Day football history.

McNeil took two handoffs for seven yards, leaving the Patriots facing a third-and-three. Barbosa then ripped off a 31-yard jaunt to the Winthrop 24, but a ref’s flag for a block-in-the-back — a spot penalty — brought the ball back 14 yards to the Winthrop 38.

However, Revere still had achieved the first down. McNeil got the call on the next four plays — including a fourth-and-1 — for gains of three, five, one, and three yards to move the chains to the Winthrop 26. The Patriot ground game also kept the clock moving, leaving just 1:47 to play.

McNeil took his fifth successive handoff and burst around left end for 17 yards before being brought down at the Winthrop nine with 1:14 to go. After a no-gain by McNeil on first down and a false start by Revere moved the ball back to the 14, McNeil took his seventh straight handoff and powered eight yards to the Winthrop six, setting up a third-and-goal.

Darius got the call once again, but his thrust up the middle was stacked up by the Winthrop defense, bringing on Haou and the field goal unit.

The unsung hero of the winning kick was holder Jonathan Murphy. The snap was high and hard, but Murphy seized it mid-air like a hawk snatching its prey, and put it down for Haou to deliver the three-point kick.

“I told Jonathan that he saved the day for us,” said Cicatelli. “When we were watching the film afterwards, what he did to grab the snap and put the ball down appeared even more amazing.”

Winthrop got the ball back with 40 seconds to go, but a comedy of errors doomed any Viking hope for an attempt at a Hail Mary. Winthrop attempted a bit of razzle-dazzle on the kick-off, but the initial toss across the field was deemed a forward lateral.

Winthrop was charged with intentional grounding on first down, resulting in the loss of a down and setting Winthrop back to its own four yard line. Winthrop got as far as about its own 20 when time ran out — and the jubilant Patriots swarmed the field to savor the sweet taste of victory over Winthrop for the second year in a row and spoiling the debut of Winthrop’s new football field.

“I was just incredibly proud of our entire team,” said Cicatelli, whose Patriots finished at 3-8 on the year. “We had a tough time this season, but a victory over Winthrop  (which finished at 2-9) makes it all worthwhile,” said the veteran coach, whose teams have enjoyed more success against their archrivals than any in recent (about four decades) memory. “It leaves the seniors with a game they always will remember and gives the returning underclassmen something to build upon for next year. All in all, it was just a great, great day.”


Revere’s victory — how sweet it was!


The Revere High football team’s dramatic 17-14 triumph over Winthrop on a chilly Thanksgiving morning before a standing room only crowd will live in Patriot football lore for a number of reasons.

The victory marked the second straight Turkey Day win for the Patriots over their arch-rivals, a feat last achieved by Revere in 1973 and 1974. Revere now has won three of the last four contests on the holiday, a skein also not seen since the early 1970s when the Patriots went to the Super Bowl in 1972 under coach Silvio Cella.

The win was doubly-sweet for Patriot players and fans because it spoiled the debut of Winthrop’s new Miller Field complex, which was not fully ready to go (rest rooms and concession stands still are not built, construction fencing marked off some areas, and the field itself appeared to be ungroomed), but which was inaugurated at the insistence of the Winthrop School Committee.

And it was triply-sweet because of the still-lingering ill-feeling from the Winthrop School Committee’s controversial decision to turn down a once-in-a-lifetime invitation for the teams to play under the lights at Fenway Park on Thanksgiving Eve, a move that had been favored by the Revere side.

RHS head coach Lou Cicatelli playfully sported a Red Sox batting helmet throughout the game. Cicatelli’s headgear signified the Revere side’s displeasure with the rejection of the Red Sox’ offer by Winthrop officials and was just one of a number of Revere references to the decision.

The Revere student body brought along a cardboard mock-up of the Green Monster and the Patriots took to the field singing “Sweet Caroline” for their pre-game warmups.

Winthrop may have insisted on inaugurating its new field on Turkey Day, but the Patriots ruined the coming-out party.

And last but not least, the Revere triumph exorcised the demons from the Patriots’ loss 10 years ago in 2007 at the old Miller Field — which always turned into a mosh pit by season’s end, regardless of the weather — that was decided on a bad call by the ref when he awarded a touchdown to Winthrop on a pass play on the last play of the game when the chalk lines had been dissolved in the the muddied grass of the old field, even though it was clear (as the game film afterwards showed) that the Winthrop receiver was well out-of-bounds.

All in all, it was a “Sweet-Sweet-Sweet Caroline” kind of day for the RHS football team and their fans.


Balo, Kioussis named NEC stars


Revere High seniors Edeh Balo and Jim Kioussis were named to the all-star team of the middle division of the Northeastern Conference by a vote of the coaches last week.

“Both Edeh, who was our captain, and Jim played outstandingly all season on both sides of the ball,” said RHS head coach Lou Cicatelli. “The honor for both is well-deserved.”

Revere Powder Puff star Iacoviello turns her attention to basketball

By Cary Shuman

Tatiana Iacoviello is one of the best three-point shooters in the state, but the Revere High senior showed that she’s proficient with a football in her possession as well.

Iacoviello rushed for 155 yards and scored Revere’s first touchdown in the annual Powder Puff flag football game against Winthrop High School. Iacoviello’s 10-yard run for a TD in the first quarter set the tone for Revere’s 20-0 victory over the Vikings before a good crowd on Nov. 18 at Harry Della Russo Stadium.

“It was my first time playing football, and I love the game,” said Iacoviello, who captained the Revere team with Valentina Pepic. “I wish I had played football when I was younger.”

Iacoviello, a starting guard and co-captain for the RHS girls basketball team that began practice Monday, credited her offensive line for clearing a path on the right side during her touchdown run.

“The blocking was outstanding all game,” said the speedy, 5-foot-3-inch running back. “The coaches [Dave Colella and Bob Lospennato] did a great job getting us prepared for the game. We practiced a lot and it paid off.”

The 17-year-old daughter of Frank and Sandra Iacoviello, Tatiana is looking forward to her final varsity basketball season and feels confident that the team can surpass its sterling 18-3 record. She will co-captain the team with returning All-Scholastic center Valentina Pepic. Junior Emily DiGiulio and sophomore Erika Cheever also return to the backcourt.

“I think we can be a better team than last year,” said Iacoviello, who averaged nine points a game in the 2016-17 campaign and led the squad in three-pointers made. “We hope to advance farther in the tournament. I hope we have a great season, and I can’t wait to play our first real game.”

Iacoviello said she will continue her basketball career in college. She is considering UMass/Boston, Endicott, Post, and Rhode Island College, among other programs.

Revere girls basketball coach Lianne O’Hara returns for her second season after leading the team to a No. 1 ranking in the state following a 17-0 start. O’Hara will be assisted by coaches Melissa Moore Randall, Kevin Adams, and Jenna Thomas.

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