When the Revere High football team took to the gridiron on a chilly and windy Thanksgiving morning to meet archrival Winthrop, even their most diehard fans had to concede that the Patriots were the decided underdogs.
Revere came into the contest with a 2-8 record against a Winthrop squad that was 5-5, which included a fairly-convincing 30-13 Winthrop victory over the Patriots earlier in the season. Tradition also was not in Revere’s favor, with the Patriots’ last win against their rival of 100 years (the first Revere-Winthrop game was played in 1913) coming in 2001.
However, what the pigskin prognosticators had not factored into their pre-game assessment was that these 2013 Patriots not only had more talent than their record belied, but also that they had as much heart and fight as any Revere team in recent memory.
Thus, when the last of the chilled-to-the-bones fans had exited Miller Field after the final whistle, it was a surprise to everybody but the Patriots themselves that the scoreboard showed a stunning final score of 13-7 in Revere’s favor.
“This team never gave up on itself all season,” said RHS head coach Lou Cicatelli. “We had a lot of injuries and a lot of tough breaks along the way, but in every game, week-in and week-out, despite the adversity we faced, we came out and gave 100 percent right to the end of every game. We never quit.”
That perseverance proved crucial to the Patriots’ mind-set by the time Thanksgiving morning arrived, because it was evident that Cicatelli and his crew had prepared thoroughly for their rematch with Winthrop and were determined to avenge their loss two months previously.
Revere parlayed a ball-control offense with a hard-nosed defense that often bent, but only broke once (yielding Winthrop’s lone touchdown late in the first half on a 16 yard pass play), to earn the victory. On the offensive side of the ball, Revere quarterback Tom Portrait and tailback Kaleb Silva, both of whom racked up more than 100 yards rushing on the day, took turns pounding away at the Winthrop defense off-tackle. Silva scored the first Revere touchdown on an electrifying 75 run in the opening quarter and Portrait busted through for an 18 yard TD jaunt in the second frame.
Equally-crucial was the manner in which the Patriot offense controlled the ball for almost the entire third period with a time-consuming drive that saw Revere take the opening kickoff and move from its own 20 to the Winthrop four yard line. Although the Patriot scoring thrust ultimately proved fruitless because of a fumble, the lengthy Revere possession severely limited the Winthrop offense’s ability to mount a second-half comeback to overcome Revere’s 13-7 lead at the intermission.
However, as proud as Cicatelli was of his team’s ability to move the ball on offense, he was even more praiseworthy of his Patriots’ solid defensive work throughout the entire four quarters of play.
“This was our best game on defense this season,” said Cicatelli, whose Patriots stymied Winthrop on three occasions in the red zone, including a final Viking scoring bid in the closing moments. “We had played Winthrop before, so we practiced all week on recognizing their sets. Everybody did their job and everybody contributed,” added the coach, who cited A.J. Matine, Pho Tran, Eddie Volcimus, Steven Selevitch, Steve Noel, Dan Murphy, Damien Strait, Martin Keuchurian, and Mike Norton for their superb play.
Still, despite the Patriots’ solid effort, the football gods appeared ready to turn against Revere when the Patriots, who were going into an increasingly-strong wind in the final quarter, went for a first down on a fourth-and-one at the Revere 48 with 2:38 to play.
“We had tried to punt into that wind earlier in the game, but the ball went about 10 yards from scrimmage,” said Cicatelli. “I figured we had a better chance of getting the first down than of making a successful punt.”
Although the Patriots came up short and turned the ball over to Winthrop in good field position, the defense came up big moments later when Winthrop had driven to the Revere 19 yard line. After a run on first down netted Winthrop three yards, three successive Viking pass attempts were defensed perfectly by Cicatelli’s crew, sealing the victory for Revere, much to the delight of the large delegation of Patriot fans who braved the cold to cheer on their heroes.
“When you play Winthrop on Thanksgiving Day, it’s like a second season,” said Cicatelli. “Not only is Winthrop our biggest rival, but it’s the game that you have the most time to prepare for and that you play in front of the biggest crowd of the year. I’m very happy that our seniors went out as winners and for our underclassmen, it will give us a lot of positive momentum in the off-season as we look ahead to 2014.”