The Revere Patriots began this season 3-0 for the first time since head coach Lou Cicatelli played on the team in the early 1980s.
But on Thanksgiving Day they accomplished an even more important feat, beating their arch-rival, the Winthrop Vikings, on Thanksgiving Day for the first time in 22 years.
“It was a great, great football game, just as we knew it would be heading into it,” said coach Cicatelli. “Winthrop was a class act the whole way, even bringing the trophy over to Revere (on Monday) and it was just a great win for our team.”
The Patriots used their not-so-secret weapon, senior running back Trae Weathers, to 22-8 lead on the Vikings through the first three and a half quarters, but the Vikings fought back and tied the game at 22 in the final six minutes and forced an overtime.
At that point, knowledgeable Revere fans who’ve followed this rivalry for years probably were feeling like they’d seen this game before, but the Patriots senior leaders and Weathers in particular decided they wanted to write a new ending to the storied rivalry, digging deep to produce the win in the extra frame.
“The story of the game, as it has been all season for us, was Trae being Trae,” explained Cicatelli. “He carried the ball about 28 or 30 times for 250 yards, but most importantly he got into the end zone four times, including the game winner and really just did everything he could to make sure we won the game.”
Weathers, who had one of the best statistical seasons any Revere player has ever had finished the year with more than 1800 yards rushing and 30 touchdowns.
“Going into the game, we thought we’d be able to run the ball on their defense and that was what we were able to do, but it wasn’t just Trae,” said Cicatelli. “(Senior quarterback) Paul Norton showed a lot of poise and leadership for us. He was only 3 for 8 on passing attempts, but we had a lot of drops especially in the first half and he kept his chin up and kept the offense going and Quentin Wesley did a ton of blocking for Trae, he was a big part of the reason for Trae’s success.”
Putting the offense aside, Cicatelli credited the Revere defense with their work in containing Winthrop’s offense throughout much of the day.
“We were up 22-8 with about 6 minutes or so to go, so our defense did a great job throughout the game keeping them off balance and giving us a chance to win the game,” said Cicatelli. “You have to credit Winthrop for putting together a nice comeback, they never gave up and played their hearts out, to force that overtime. But I was very happy with how our defensive front stopped their running attack for most of the game.”
Cicatelli cited Jim Domenici, Edson Cordeiro, Oscar Desjardin, Frank Melito and Rob Sasso with carrying the load for the Revere defense up front.
“We got the trophy at the high school today, there was a nice little ceremony and it was pretty exciting,” said Cicatelli. “This was the first time that we’ve had that trophy in Revere in 22 years, so it was very special for everyone.
Revere actually beat Winthrop on the field in the 2001 Thanksgiving Day game, but the loss was disqualified because an ineligible player played in the game, and Winthrop was awarded the official win in the MIAAs record book. Because of that, neither Revere nor Winthrop cite that game in their own recordings of the rivalry and the trophy for the win was never presented to Revere.