The Revere High football team will be looking to close out the 2012 season with a win over annual Thanksgiving Day rival Winthrop when the Patriots host this year’s contest at Harry Della Russo Field Thursday morning at 10:00.
Although neither squad will be playing in the post-season, a lot will be at stake for both teams when they take to the field. A victory against their traditional archrival in and of itself always is a huge motivator coming into the game, but in addition, a winning season for both teams hinges on the outcome.
For Revere, a victory looms as especially huge because it will give the Patriot football program its first winning season since 1981.
“The players are focused and we’ve had a great week of practice,” said RHS head coach Lou Cicatelli, who was a member of that 1981 team. “They know what is at stake and want to make their mark as the most successful Revere football team in two generations.”
The contest between the 5-4 Patriots and the 5-5 Vikings rates as a tossup. Revere and Winthrop have played one common opponent this season, Swampscott, and won by similar scores. Revere was a 21-10 victor in the second game of the season and the following week, Winthrop topped Swampscott 21-6.
Analyzing once-removed opponents similarly reveals the probability of a tight matchup. For example, Revere swept past Georgetown, 32-6, as did Saugus, 35-14. Winthrop nipped Saugus 13-7 in overtime, thanks to a blocked field goal that was returned for a touchdown.
Both Revere and Winthrop have experienced uneven 2012 campaigns. The Patriots started the year with a blazing 5-1 record, but injuries to key players along the way mounted up and contributed mightily to the Patriots’ losses in their last three games. However, three key players for the Pats, Bobby Rose, Nick Carini, and Connor McCarthy, will be suiting up for the season finale.
Winthrop has had a classic see-saw season. The Vikings started out slowly with a 1-3 mark, won their next two, lost the next two, and have won their last two to land on Thanksgiving Day with an even-steven 5-5 mark.
Winthrop will be led offensively by 5-8, 165 pound junior running back Jordan Corbett-Frank. However, the Viking offense has averaged only 17 points per game, with its best output coming in a 40-14 rout of a 1-8 Triton team. Otherwise, the Vikings have attained more than 20 points only twice, the 21-10 win over Swampscott and a 25-21 loss to Pentucket.
“Winthrop plays a double wing formation which is a ball control, grind-it-out offense,” said Cicatelli, who has scouted the Vikings twice this season. “Their game plan is to go on long drives that eat up the clock.”
The Revere offense has shown that it can strike from anywhere, led by the talented trio of quarterback Joe Ritchie, running back Tom Portrait, and wide receiver Kyle Gotham, and has averaged more than 20 points per game. Although Winthrop will have a size advantage, the Pats figure to have the edge in speed and quickness.
“We hope to utilize our speed, but we need to do it correctly,” said Cicatelli, who noted that the forecast for dry weather for the rest of the week with temperatures in the 50s for the game (which means that the field at HDR should be in fairly good shape) should work to the Patriots’ advantage.
“Winthrop is a good football team and we know we’ll have to play very well to beat them,” added the coach. “But we’ll be ready. We want to make what already has been a very good season into a great one.”