RhS sports Roundup
The Revere Miracle:
Pats tie at 0:00, then win in OT against Medford
One could almost hear the echo of Al Michaels’s famous refrain, “Do you believe in miracles?” — if he had been calling the Revere-Medford football game Friday night — after Patriot running back Lucas Barbosa made a cutback from an end sweep and sprinted into the end zone from six yards out, capping a truly epic and miraculous 27-21 overtime victory for the Revere High football team.
But a miracle only happens if a team makes it happen.
And that requires faith, both in themselves and their teammates, as well as perfect execution in a time and space where there is no room for error.
The Patriots seemingly had seen defeat snatched from the jaws of victory when Medford scored a go-ahead touchdown with 29 seconds to play after three controversial penalty calls (two for pass interference and one for an alleged out-of-bounds tackle) that not only had negated an apparent Revere interception (that would have ended the game), but also gifted the Mustangs 45 yards toward the Revere end zone.
When Medford punched the ball across the goal line, and then kicked the extra point, to erase an 18-14 Patriot lead with 0:29 on the clock, Revere’s hopes for a victory seemed all but doomed — to everyone in the stadium that is, except for RHS head coach Lou Cicatelli and his Patriots, who refused to throw in the proverbial towel despite the soul-crushing turn of events.
The first necessary element was a good return of the ensuing Medford kickoff. That was provided by the fleet Barbosa, who returned the kick to the Revere 43.
Element number two came in the form of a nice pass connection on first down from quarterback Jonathan Murphy to his most trusted receiver this season, Eric Bua, along the sideline that moved the ball to the Medford 40 with 0:09 on the clock.
The next link in the chain to glory was another pass completion from Murphy to Yussuf Ali-Buda for 13 yards to the Medford 27.
It should be noted, by the way, that these were the first pass attempts of the game by Murphy, who thus finished a perfect 2-for-2 for the night in the passing department.
So with 0:03 on the clock, Cicatelli elected to bring in his place-kicker, Rayan Riazi. Rayan had booted the game-winning field goal two weeks previously in overtime to defeat Lynn Classical, but he had missed on a PAT after Revere’s first touchdown earlier in the evening. And — it should be noted — he never had attempted anything close to a 44 yard kick in a game, let alone with a game on the line.
As anyone familiar with football knows, the precision required for a place-kick is a mini-chain of perfection in itself — the snap, the grab of the ball, the hold, and the kick. With a 44 yard field goal, everything must be perfectly aligned and in-sync. Sophomore center Josh Laurina did his part with a clean snap, holder Murphy did his job, and that left it to Riazi, who delivered a powerful strike, straight and true, that just made it over the crossbar as time expired, sending the game into OT.
Medford elected to take the ball first — each team gets to start at the 10 yard line — but the Revere defense stuffed the Mustangs on four successive downs, leaving fans wondering why Medford did not try to get at least a field goal, given that the Mustangs had converted on 3-of-3 PAT attempts on the night.
Revere then took over at the 10 and the Patriots needed just two plays — a hit up the middle by RHS captain Darius McNeil for four yards and then Barbosa’s capper for the final six — to earn the amazing victory that truly will go down as one of the most exciting and dramatic in Revere High football annals.
As for what transpired in the game preceding those final 29 seconds (plus overtime): Medford took a 7-0 lead on a long drive in the opening period, and Revere responded with its own drive, capped by a 15 yard run by McNeil (who rushed for 122 yards on the night), to cut the deficit to 7-6.
Both teams scored before the half ended, leaving matters at 14-12 in Medford’s favor at the intermission. Murphy scored the Revere TD on a short gain to finish a long drive that featured the running of Barbosa and McNeil.
The Patriots took the lead for the first time,18-14, when Barbosa scored from five yards out in the third period, setting the stage for the wild finish.
“It was a great football game,” sad Cicatelli afterwards. “We’ve had some last-minute victories in recent years that have been memorable, but this one tops them all.
“Even after Medford scored to take the lead, we never gave up, and I am incredibly proud of how every player on the team did his part in making our comeback happen,” said the coach. “There was no quit by anybody on our team.”
With seven Revere starters on the sidelines with injuries, Cicatelli particularly lauded the play of his younger players, including sophomore offensive guard Mike Roncevich and linebackers Bill Ginepra and Cal Capozzi, who stepped into the breach to fill the void.
Cicatelli also had huge words of praise for McNeil, who not only carried the ball for 122 yards, but who also was a monster on defense with eight tackles and numerous pressures on the Medford quarterback.
“We moved Darius around on defense in the second half, and Medford didn’t know what to do with him,” noted Cicatelli. “He was a force on both sides of the ball.”
The victory improved the Patriots to 3-2 on the season, marking the Pats’ third straight win after an 0-2 start. They will travel to Swampscott’s Blocksidge Field Saturday afternoon for an encounter with an excellent Big Blue team that is 4-1 after suffering its first defeat of the season this past week to a 4-1 Lynn English squad.
Girls cross-country defeats English, 15-50
The Revere High girls cross country swept past Lynn English by a shutout score of 15-50 last Thursday on the Lady Bulldogs’ treacherous home course at Lynn Woods.
“The course is always a challenging one, with uneven terrain and multiple loops,” said RHS coach Katie Sinnott. “As we usually do, a few runners got a bit turned around and ended up running a far longer course than expected. Regardless of the few missteps we made, the team ran away with a win.”
Among the highlights for Revere was the performance of Maajda Louaddi, who turned in a personal-best pace, which was quite an impressive feat on the super-difficult course.
Scoring for the Lady Pats were Leila Cesic, Erika Cheever, Carly Bennett, Olivia Novoselsky, and Soleil Young.
“Erika recently had her wisdom teeth pulled and gritted out a tough run in quite a bit of pain,” said Sinnott. “Olivia sprinted to a fourth place finish, pushing herself to a higher placement. And despite being alone for most of the challenging course, Belma Mujic showed great mental toughness to run one of the harder courses.”
Revere = 15, Lynn English = 50
Leila Cesic – 1st overall, 23:45
Erika Cheever – 2nd overall, 24:20
Carly Bennett – 3rd overall, 26:10
Olivia Novoselsky – 4th overall, 27:24
Soleil Yuong – 5th overall, 27:26
Salma Hazimeh – 8th overall, 33:02
Maajda Louaddi – 9th overall, 33:11
Gabriela Mogavero – 10th overall, 33:52
Nawal Khan – 11th overall, 33:52
Belma Mujic – 14th overall, 44:30
Also participating, but getting off track (and yet still working hard to cross the line, but unfortunately not getting a true score or time) were Gabrielle O’Brien, Skyla McNamara, and Dianne Mancio
Sinnott and her crew are scheduled to host Beverly today (Wednesday) on the Belle Isle course. They will travel to Marblehead next Wednesday.
Pelatier paces RHS boys in win over English
Freshman Victor Pelatere led the Revere High boys cross country team to a 20-43 victory over Lynn English this past Thursday at Lynn Woods.
Victor came across the line in second place with a clocking of 19:55 over the three-mile course. His Patriot teammates then took the next eight places to clinch the victory: sophomore Will Martinez in 20:07, captain Scott Montefusco in 20:14, captain Jonathan Nushi in 20:19; Christian Madrid in 20:49; Cristian Acuna in 21:10; Fabio Tran in 21:11; Anthony Arias in 21:23; and James Carpinelli in 21:24.
Other Patriots who competed in the race were Ronald Pineda (22:08), Kevin Nguyen (23:43), Marco Cerbone (24:3), and Jose Arias (27:57).
“The team ran very well,” said RHS head coach Mike Flynn, whose squad now stands at 4-2 on the season. “We ran together and ran a smart race. I told the team beforehand that they should run safely, even if it meant sacrificing a little bit of speed, because of the rocky terrain on the course. It is very easy to twist an ankle if you are not careful.”
Flynn and his crew wrap up their regular season in the coming week. They were set to host Beverly today (Wednesday) and then will make the short ride north to Marblehead next Wednesday.
That will bring up the Northeastern Conference Meet that is scheduled for Saturday, October 27.
Matt Willis named new RHS girls basketball coach
By Cary Shuman
Matt Willis has been named as the new head coach of the Revere High School girls basketball team, RHS Director of Athletics Frank Shea announced last week.
Willis has been the head coach at Amesbury High School
for the past three seasons. “We’re glad to have him in our program,” said Shea. “He’s had great success in Amesbury, winning two Cape Ann League titles and a North Sectional title. He interviewed really well.”
Shea said more than 10 candidates, which is considered a very good turnout, applied for the position. The three-person selection committee of Jack Mosko, Joe Herwig, and John Kingston interviewed five candidates before making its recommendation to Shea.
“They selected him because of his track record at Amesbury,” said Shea. “That’s what separated him from the other candidates: his established success as a high school coach. We’re happy to have him on board and we’re excited to see him get started.”
Willis succeeds Lianne O’Hara, who stepped down after being the head coach the past two seasons. O’Hara currently serves as the RHS volleyball coach.
A barbecue with a distinctive Revere flavor
By Bob Maara
Maybe they were cooking hot dogs and hamburgers at the Yawkey Baseball League Back Yard Barbecue recently, but there’s no question that the season-ending awards ceremony had a heaping helping of Revere when the honors were handed out.
Led by League MVP and batting-title winner Matt Costanza, Revere natives took home most of the swag: John Moore, Manager of the Year; Zach Moore, Tony Conigliaro Comeback Player of the Year; Barbara Costanza (Matt’s Granmother) President’s Award; Rich DeMartino, Silver Slugger at second base; and Mike Hinojosa, Umpire of the Year, and Chris Santosuosso of the Revere Rockies won the Tom and Jean Yawkey Appreciation Award.
The McKay Beacons, who made a surprising advance to the League Championship semi-finals, was dominated by Revere talent. Costanza, who is making a name for himself in college baseball circles where he is a star for the American International College Yellow Jackets, batted an even .500 in 88 at-bats for the Beacons. Zack Moore recovered from a back injury and life-threatening medical condition to bat .300 in 16 games this summer as he contributed to the team’s success that led to his Dad, John Moore’s, selection as Coach of the Year. And Rich DiMartino batted .434 and walloped 6 home runs to boost the team to a 19-11-1 record.
The Beacons success had Revere energy not only on the field, but in the stands. Barbara Costanza, Matt’s Grandma, won the President’s Award, and it might as well have been called Fan of the Year. Barbara was in the stands whether it was in April’s chill or the sultry humidity of August as she cheered the team and her grandson; their success no doubt helped soothe the ache of losing her husband, Adrian, in February.
To top off the Revere connection to the Yawkey League festivities, Revere Parks and Rec Director Mike Hinojosa was honored as Umpire of the Year. It’s not often that an umpire is applauded, but Hinojosa’s dedication to the league and his judicious skill behind the plate and on the base paths added one more local footnote to the event.