Sports 11-23-2016

Revere vs. Winthrop: Thanksgiving Day game is rated a toss-up

The “second season” for both the Revere and Winthrop High football teams is set to take place this Thursday morning when the long-time archrivals take to the field at sparkling Harry Della Russo Stadium for the renewal of their traditional rivalry on Thanksgiving Day.

The opening kick-off is set for 10:00 a.m.

On paper, the contest rates as a toss-up. The teams have played five rivals in common this season with almost identical outcomes. Both Revere and Winthrop have defeated Salem (Revere, 28-23; Winthrop, 14-0), Swampscott (Revere, 29-27 in OT; Winthrop, 20-7), and Saugus (Revere, 30-13; Winthrop, 22-16). Both were outgunned by Gloucester (Revere, 14-34; Winthrop, 6-48).

Although there is one dissimilar outcome, their matches with Lynn English — Revere won, 24-22 (on a field goal as time expired) and Winthrop lost, 25-27 — that comparison likewise shows the teams on virtually an even-footing against a common rival.

One intangible factor is that the Patriots will have the momentum on their side entering the battle. After an 0-4 start to the season, coach Lou Cicatelli’s squad has won five of its last six games. With their present mark standing at 5-5, a winning record for the 2016 campaign is on the line. In addition, a victory will give the Patriots a second-place finish in the Small Division of the Northeastern Conference.

The 2016 campaign has been a year of incredible highs and lows for the Pats, in which they truly have come to understand the meaning of the sports axiom, “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”

Two of their early-season losses this season, to Medford and Lynn Classical, came about by a total of five points. In their opening-round playoff loss to Chelmsford in the Division 1A sectional, Revere held a lead at the half that they carried into the fourth period before a couple of costly mistakes sealed their fate.

On the plus side, Cicatelli’s crew edged Swampscott in overtime and then pulled out the amazing victory over Lynn English on a 38-yard field goal as time expired.

By contrast, Winthrop, which stands at 3-7 and is coming off a 52-8 thrashing by St. Mary’s of Lynn three weeks ago and then dropped its next two games thereafter, has not had too much to cheer about this season.

Still, as long-time fans on both sides know, you can throw the regular-season records out the window when Revere and Winthrop get together in the season-finale. The annual Turkey Day battle will be the last game in a high school uniform for the seniors on both sides of the ball and emotions will run high for everyone — players, coaches, parents, and fans alike.

“We may have a better record, but that means nothing on Thanksgiving Day when Revere and Winthrop get together,” said veteran RHS head coach Lou Cicatelli, who has fond memories of the rivalry from his days in a Blue & White uniform in the early 1980s. “This game always means so much to the seniors. Both teams come into it with a lot of pride and are ready to give it everything they’ve got.”

If the rain holds off in the morning (as of early this week, rain is not forecast for our area until the afternoon) and with reasonable temperatures in the 40s, a big crowd is expected for the battle.

The Revere offense, which at times this season has been unstoppable, has averaged 24 points per game and will present a number of challenges for the Winthrop defense. Captain Victor Rivera has piled up some impressive numbers from his tailback position and is a threat to break a long gain every time he touches the ball.

Senior Oscar Lopez is a true, multiple-threat performer, who has been quarterback Eddie Sullivan’s top receiver and who is dangerous wherever he lines up in the Revere offense: backfield, tight end, slot, or wide receiver. The Winthrop linebackers and secondary will have their hands full keeping track of Oscar and figuring out where he may be headed in the Revere offensive scheme. Oscar also is the Revere punter who will keep an opponent’s return team honest (he faked a punt this season and made a first down).

Though this is senior quarterback Sullivan’s first year as a starter, he has developed impressively as the season has progressed and rates as one of the top passing and running threats on the North Shore from his position at the helm of the Revere offense.

A significant part of the Revere offense during their second-half run has been place-kicker Badr Haou. Badr drilled a 38 yard field goal as time expired to defeat Lynn English two weeks ago and has been more consistent than Stephen Gostkowski in the PAT department. In a close contest where every point may count, Haou’s foot could prove the difference. Lopez (who also handles the Revere punting chores) snaps the ball on kicking situations and Sullivan handles the hold — a combination that the duo has operated with precision during the Patriots’ run.

Other Patriots who have made contributions to the Revere offense in 2016 are captains Anthony DeStefano and John DeSimone. DeStefano scored all four of the Revere touchdowns from short distance in the win over Salem, while DeSimone figures to be a target for Sullivan if, as expected, Lopez draws special attention from the Winthrop defense.

The Revere defense, which has allowed 26 points per game, has shown itself to be both rock-solid and vulnerable throughout 2016. The key to Revere’s success will be avoiding mistakes and coverage breakdowns that have allowed the opposition to convert third-and-long situations into first downs.

However, for both teams the biggest factor — as is the case from the pros to the youth levels — will be turnovers. A turnover can ruin a long-drive or set up the opposing team with a short field — and it is almost a football-guarantee that the team that commits the most turnovers will be the one to come up on the short end on the scoreboard at the final whistle.

Revere learned that lesson the hard way a year ago on Thanksgiving when the Patriots, who were leading, had stopped Winthrop inside the Revere 20 with two minutes left in the game, only to fumble and give the Vikings another chance to win — which Winthrop proceeded to do.

“We’ve had a great week of practice and we’re ready to go,” said RHS head coach Lou Cicatelli. “There’s a lot on the line for us — a winning season and a second-place finish in our league — so we’re ready to give it everything we’ve got.”

Jordan named new baseball coach at Revere High School

By Cary Shuman

The Revere High School baseball program has landed a highly prized coach that has built winning teams at every station in his distinguished career.

Ron Jordan Jr., who guided his Newton South baseball team to the Division 1 semifinals and four state tournament berths in nine seasons, has been named the new Revere High School head baseball coach.

Director of athletics Frank Shea selected Jordan from a large field of candidates, saying that Jordan’s years of varsity baseball coaching experience and outstanding record were factors in his appointment as coach.

Jordan, 51, is confident that he can lead Revere baseball up the ladder in the Northeastern Conference.

“I’m excited to be the new coach and I am ready for the challenge,” said Jordan. “I know that there is a program that needs to be built up and that’s something I like to do and something I was able to do at Newton South.”

Jordan comes from a legendary East Boston athletic family. He was a Little League All-Star and played varsity baseball at East Boston High School before attending Bunker Hill Community College and Curry College where he played college basketball. He holds a Master’s degree in Education from Cambridge College.

It was next door in Eastie where Jordan began his coaching career, taking over his father Ronald Jordan’s Senior Little League team and leading it to a 32-game winning streak over three years. He started the East Boston American Legion baseball team and led it to the State Tournament before taking over the East Boston Bombers in the Yawkey League.

He moved on to the Intercity Baseball League and coached the East Boston entry for three years. In 2008, Jordan became the head coach of the Newton South baseball team. At Newton South, Jordan sent several players on to compete in college baseball. The Washington Nationals drafted one of his NS players, Willie Allen, in the 16th round of the 2010 Major League Draft.

Jordan will retire next week from his position in the MBTA Transit Police Department. He served in the department for the past 28 years.

Jordan was scheduled to meet Tuesday with prospective candidates for the RHS baseball team. He  intends to conduct baseball instructional clinics in the city and wants to develop a supportive relationship with the increasingly popular Revere Youth Baseball League that plays at the brand new St. Mary’s fields.

He also looks forward to teaming up with Frank Shea, a proven winner as a high school basketball coach and a competitive administrator who is placing his imprint on the RHS athletic program. Shea recently appointed Lianne O’Hara as the new girls basketball coach.

“Mr. Shea has the confidence in me to do what I need to do to make Revere baseball successful,” said Jordan. “He knows my track record so he knows what he’s getting as a coach. I look forward to working with him in building a winning program in Revere.”

RhS sports Through the Years

10 years ago

November 21, 2006

An underdog Revere High football team will attempt to pull off the upset of the season in schoolboy football on the North Shore when the winless Patriots take on an undefeated Winthrop High squad Thursday morning at Harry Della Russo Stadium. The Vikings, who already have secured a spot in the post-season playoffs, have averaged 40 points per game this season. The Patriots have lost 15 of the last 16 Turkey Day encounters with Winthrop, the last victory coming in 2001.

The State Dept. of Conservation and Recreation announced this week that the long-awaited construction of a new Cronin Rink is underway. The $14 million project is slated for completion in November, 2007. An asbestos containment program required for demolition of the old rink held up the project and added to the costs. The RHS hockey team has been using the MDC rink in the North End for its practices and home games for the past few years.

20 years ago

November 20, 1996

Revere High star running back Marc Silvestri set new records this week in a 38-12 loss to Arlington. Silvestri set a new mark for rushing in a season with 1342 yards and for total offense in a season with 1395 yards. He also tied the RHS career records for touchdowns (26) and points (158). The Patriots will wrap up their season Thursday against Winthrop in the annual Thanksgiving Day game.

Tony Ferullo is the new head basketball coach for the Revere High boys’ team. He is the fourth coach in four years.

30 years ago

November 26, 1986

A 2-7 Revere High football team will be a decided underdog to a 5-4 Winthrop squad when the teams meet for the annual Thanksgiving Day game tomorrow at 10 a.m. in the local stadium. Winthrop has won 10 of the last 11 Turkey tilts. Coach John Miller’s squad is led by captains Dennis Murphy and Fred Cinelli. The

Revere High cheering team is led by captains Lauren Belmonte, Rachel Costa, and Deanne Mantia.

Former Revere High football star Joe Laurano has been the starting fullback for the 9-0 University of Pennsylvania grid team. Laurano has been both a power runner and key blocker in the Ivy League team’s offense this season.

40 years ago

November 17, 1976

Thanks to a solid defensive effort late in the game, the RHS football team squeaked past Somerville, 23-20, on a slushy Harry Della Russo field Saturday. Defensive tackle Rocco Iacoviello scored the winning touchdown on a 20 yard gallop when he picked off a deflected Somerville pass that had been tipped by teammate Dan Dillon. John Festa scored two TDs on an interception return and on a reception from quarterback Mike Lentz.

50 years ago

November 24, 1966

Coach Silvio Conte’s Revere High football team rates as a slight favorite to defeat Winthrop in the 36th meeting between the schools on Thanksgiving Day at Paul Revere Stadium. Revere, which is playing its first year in the powerful Greater Boston League, is 2-3-1 in the GBL and 3-3-1 overall. Winthrop enters the game at 2-5-1. The Patriots will be led by co-captains Frank LeMoure and Phil Alexander. Revere will be looking to avert a repeat of last year when Winthrop upset Revere, 14-12. Winthrop holds a slim lead in the series, 17-15-3.

Coach Ron Corbett’s Immaculate Conception High football team won its second straight Catholic Suburban League title and remained undefeated with a 6-0 victory over previously-undefeated Arlington Catholic this past week. Immaculate now has remained undefeated in a span of the past three years with 22 wins and one tie. IC quarterback Mike Carabba scored the lone touchdown of the game on a 30-yard run. The team was met on its return back to Revere at the city limits by hundreds of fans who then proceeded to make a victory march in which Corbett and assistant coaches George Sullivan and John Jordan rode atop a fire engine. A police cruiser escorted the team’s bus back to Fr. Brennan Hall. Corbett has announced he is stepping down from the helm of the IC football program at the end of this year. Corbett is a 1938 grad of IC and began his coaching career in 1948 while still a student at Boston College Law School. He has had 16 winning seasons and has claimed six Suburban League titles, even though IC has the smallest male enrollment of almost every high school in the area.

60 years ago

November 22, 1956

The Revere High football team will wrap up its 1956 season on Thanksgiving Day against St. Mary’s of Lynn. A capacity crowd is expected to be on hand for the fourth encounter between the schools on the holiday. Revere has won the previous three contests, but the game is rated a toss-up this year. The teams have played two common opponents this season, Malden Catholic and Swampscott. Revere defeated the former but fell to the latter, but St. Mary’s did the reverse.

Members of the Revere High cheering team who will root on the RHS football team Thursday are: Enid Pinkstein, Carolyn Landry, Lennie Croce, Lana Canavan, Lucy DeStefano, Pat Ferragamo, Sandra Alpert, Dale Baker, Valerie Weslowski, Marilyn Penta, Carol Bernazant, and Capt. Nancy Bernard.

70 years ago

November 21, 1946

The Revere High football team battled a highly-touted Lynn Classical team evenly for three periods, but eventually dropped a 38-14 decision to Classical before 18,000 enthusiastic fans at the Manning Bowl. Revere’s star back, Rocco Cerrone, stole the spotlight, even eclipsing Classical star Harry Agganis, until Cerrone was forced to leave the game in the fourth period with an injury. Revere was the first team to score two touchdowns against Classical this season and two other TDs were called back on controversial calls by the refs. Revere ended up with more yardage than Classical both on the ground and in the air and had two more first downs.

Revere now will face Winthrop on Thanksgiving Day in what will be the last encounter between the schools on the holiday. Winthrop has announced it will be ceasing athletic relations with Revere in the wake of the brawl and melee that ensued after last year’s game in which Winthrop upset a heavily-favored Revere squad and a Winthrop player was hospitalized after being kicked in the head.


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