RHS grid team sets sights on beating Winthrop and achieving new heights on Thanksgiving Day
By Journal Staff
When the Revere High football team takes to the field Thanksgiving Day for their traditional holiday battle with archival Winthrop, it will be a day of firsts — and potential firsts — for the Patriot gridmen in a few respects.
To begin with, the contest will mark the first occasion on which Revere will host the Vikings on Revere’s home turf at the new Harry Della Russo Stadium, which surely will make every visitor from Winthrop even-greener-than-the-shining-turf-field with envy. The reconstruction of HDR now makes Winthrop’s Miller Field — which was built at about the same time as Paul Revere Stadium (as HDR then was known before being renamed in 1966 in honor of the long-time Revere public servant and businessman who served as a State Senator) as a federal WPA project in the early 1940s — the worst athletic facility in the area. Hopefully, the sight of the new athletic complex will spur Winthrop taxpayers to undertake a similar project in their community for their town’s youth and provide visiting teams such as Revere with a safe playing surface instead of the mosh pit that has existed there for decades.
More importantly, Thursday’s opening kickoff will provide the 2015 Patriots with the opportunity to make history and write themselves into the annals of RHS grid lore.
Coach Lou Cicatelli’s squad, which enters the fray with a 7-3 record, already has achieved the most wins of any Revere football team since the 1980 and 1981 editions, which finished 7-2-1 and 7-3 respectively (and of which Cicatelli himself was a member) and has recorded the first winning record since that time. (The 1989 Patriots came closest to finishing above .500, but ended at 5-5). In addition, the seven victories ties this year’s crew with the 1980-81 squads for second-most ever wins in RHS history.
Thus, an eighth victory will make this year’s team stand alone as the second-winningest in school history, exceeded only by the 1973 squad that went 10-0 in the regular season before losing to Brockton in the Division I Super Bowl.
The 1964 Patriot outfit, which was quarterbacked by the legendary Jim DelGaizo (who went on to have a stellar career at Syracuse and then played in the pro ranks with three teams, including the undefeated Miami Dolphins’ Super Bowl champion in 1972) went 8-0-1 on the field, but the discovery just before the Thanksgiving Day game with Winthrop of an ineligible player on the Revere roster negated all of the Revere wins prior to that 1964 Thanksgiving Day tilt (which matched Revere against a similarly-undefeated Winthrop team).
So officially — and for the record books — that 1964 squad ended the season with a 1-8 mark after defeating Winthrop on Turkey Day.
Thus, the 2015 team stands to become only the second team in Revere High history — spanning more than 100 years of football at RHS — to reach the eight-victory plateau, a feat that also will assure Cicatelli’s crew of the second-highest winning percentage in school history at 72 percent, exceeded only by the 1973 squad (both the 1980 and 1981 teams had 70 percent winning marks).
Moreover, a triumph over Winthrop will mark the first time since the 1972-74 seasons (when Revere won three games in a row over Winthrop) that Revere will have taken two of three Turkey Day contests from Winthrop. Revere defeated Winthrop in the 2013 game and lost by a narrow, 14-6 margin last year.
“This season has been a lot of fun,” said Cicatelli. “But the Thanksgiving Day game with Winthrop always is our Super Bowl and the game that we get the most pumped-up for. The boys know that they have a chance to do what only one other Revere team ever has accomplished and if they do it, it will be something that never can be taken away from them.”
For the first time in a few years, the Patriots will have a size advantage over the visiting Vikings. The Revere line has been buoyed by the return late in the season of captain and two-way lineman Brandon Brito, who had been sidelined since the first day of practice in August when he injured his knee.
The Revere offense has been a potent force throughout the year, averaging 25.4 points per game. Senior captain and quarterback Dan Murphy is a true double-threat both throwing and carrying the football. Murphy has excellent speed (Danny has been the top Revere sprinter during the rack season) and always is a threat to break away for a long gain. He has scored nine touchdowns on the ground and has passed for eight others.
Dan’s favorite target this season has been Oscar Lopez (four receiving touchdowns, a rushing TD, and a pick-six), who lines up in different places — from tight end to slot to wide receiver (a combination of Gronk and Julius Edelman) — in Revere’s multiple formations. Oscar has made some truly memorable catches throughout the year and no doubt will play a big role in the Revere offense Thanksgiving Day. Other key receivers for Murphy this season have been Frank Antrim and Jake Noftle.
Junior running back Victor Rivera has been a standout for the Patriots and provides balance to the Revere offense. Victor has been a consistent breakaway threat and has run for many long gains against Revere’s opponents en route to scoring 10 touchdowns on the year.
Steve Noel also has seen action in the backfield (four TDs) and has been a solid producer for Revere in kicking PATs. In addition, Steve booted his first field goal of the year in the Pats’ last game, a 24-6 triumph over Lynn English. In a close game, he could be the difference-maker.
The Revere defense has been a consistent force throughout the season and has kept the Patriots in those games when the offense has sputtered. The Patriots have yielded just 12.3 points per game and have been rated in the top 10 in EMass. The D-line has been anchored by Pho Tran, Anthony DeStefano, and Jovan Salcedo and will be even more potent with the addition of Brito. The aggressive linebacking corps of Noel, Noftle, John DeSimone, and Eddie Sullivan have been a key to the Revere defensive success and figure to play a big role in the Pats’ bid to shut down the Winthrop offense.
“We know that when we play Winthrop, we have to be ready for a lot of different formations,” said Cicatelli. “But we have our game plan and we’ll be ready to execute it. We’re hungry and the team is motivated to give it our best.”
The big day also will be highlighted by Senior Day presentations before the game to the Revere senior players and cheerleaders and their parents.
Both teams were 3-1 against their common opponents in the Northeastern Conference, so the contest rates on paper as a toss-up.
Revere’s record this season:
Revere 35-Medford 0
Revere 41-Chelsea 0
Revere 19-Lynn Classical 14
Gloucester 36-Revere 16
Revere 35-Saugus 6
Revere 46-Swampscott 7
Revere 28-Salem 6
Danvers 7-Revere 0
Beverly 41-Revere 13
Revere 24-Lynn English 6
RHS sports Through the Years
10 years ago
November 22, 2005
The Revere High football team will rate as a heavy underdog to Winthrop when the teams meet for their annual Thanksgiving Day classic. The Vikings claimed an undisputed Northeastern Conference championship with a 9-1 record and already have secured a spot in the Division 2 state championship playoffs. Revere enters the fray at 5-5 and will be looking to claim the Patriots’ first winning season since 1981. The 1989 RHS squad finished at 5-5. Coach Lou Cicatelli’s Patriots will be led into the battle by running back Emilio Digitale, who has set a Revere High single-season rushing record with 1,447 yards and has scored 16 touchdowns. The Pats also will be led by captains Reggie Royster, Steve Ferrante, and Dennis Hickey.
20 years ago
November 21, 1995
Revere and Winthrop will renew their annual Thanksgiving Day rivalry at Winthrop’s Miller Field at 10:00 a.m. Both teams figure to keep the ball on the ground with the contest to be decided in the trenches. Revere comes into the contest with a 3-5 mark and Winthrop is 5-4.
The RHS Powder Puff football team rolled over No. Reading, 34-0. Jen Nelson rushed for four touchdowns for the Revere squad, which is coached by Bob Lospennato and Steve MacDonald. Revere has played Everett in recent years, but Everett did not have a team this year. The first Powder Puff games were played against Winthrop, but a brawl after one of the games ended the rivalry.
30 years ago
November 20, 1985
The Revere High football team had to settle for a 6-6 tie with Arlington Saturday. Emilio Leone scored the Patriot touchdown on a 44 yard pass from quarterback Joe Galvin. However, the potentially-winning two-point conversion failed. Revere, 2-5-2 for the season, now will prepare for the annual Thanksgiving Day game with Winthrop.
The Revere High Powder Puff football team is readying for its annual clash with Winthrop Saturday in Revere.
40 years ago
November 19, 1975
The Revere High football team earned its first win of the season with a 16-8 triumph over Somerville. RHS quarterback Mario Potito scrambled around end for short runs for both touchdowns. The Patriots now will prepare to meet Winthrop on Thanksgiving Day. Revere has won the last three contests against their archrivals on the holiday.
50 years ago
November 25, 1965
The 5-1-2 Revere High football team will be a heavy favorite to defeat Winthrop when the schools meet in their annual clash on Thanksgiving Day. Winthrop will be seeking revenge for an 8-0 defeat last year that ruined its perfect season and a chance for a Class B championship. The victory gave Revere an undefeated, once-tied record, but the local squad ended up forfeiting its victories because of an ineligible player. Revere’s lone loss this season came at the hands of a powerful and undefeated Malden Catholic team that figures to be the Class B champion this year.
Coach Ronnie Corbett’s Immaculate Conception High football team claimed the undisputed championship of the Catholic Suburban League with a 24-6 win over Arlington Catholic, which like IC came into the contest with an undefeated record. Junior quarterback Mike Carabba, who is almost a certainty to repeat as a league all-star, ran for two touchdowns on short runs and tossed a seven-yard TD pass to Bob Smith.
The DelGaizo twin brothers, quarterback Jim and wide receiver John, helped power the Syracuse freshman football team to a 4-1 record this season. The brothers connected for a touchdown in each of the past two games against Buffalo and Colgate. Jim tossed a total of six TD passes in those two contests. The freshman team under Jim DelGaizo’s quarterbacking scored an average of 32.8 points per game, a new Syracuse freshman record.
60 years ago
November 24, 1955
The Revere high football team, which has won two games this season, will meet St. Mary’s of Lynn on Thanksgiving Day in the season finale. This will mark the third Turkey Day contest between the two rivals. Revere has played a number of other rivals, B.C. High, Weymouth, and Taunton, on the holiday ever since relations were severed with Winthrop after the 1946 season following a brawl among players and fans after the 1945 contest.
70 years ago
November 22, 1945
A 5-4 Revere High football team rates as a heavy favorite to defeat a 2-5 Winthrop squad when the teams meet for their 28th annual Thanksgiving Day battle. A capacity crowd of more than 5000 fans is expected to be on hand for the Turkey Day contest at Miller Field in Winthrop. Revere fans as usual will embark early on their short trek to Winthrop if they hope to secure a seat for the battle. Revere will be led by their star player, Jerry Sarno, who played a big role in Revere’s victory on the holiday last year.
Malden Catholic defeated Immaculate Conception High 39-6 Sunday before 5000 fans at Malden Catholic Stadium in the last game of the year for both teams.