PHOTO BY SCOTT EISEN
Revere’s Anthony DeStefano runs for a touchdown during the Patriots’ Thanksgiving Day win over Winthrop. The senior captain scored both of the Patriots’ touchdowns in the 14-7 victory.
By HAROLD RIVERA
REVERE — When a senior hits the gridiron on the high school stage for the final time, the goal is to go out on a high note. Revere senior Anthony DeStefano did just that.
A captain for the Patriots, DeStefano was the key to Revere’s 14-7 win over Winthrop at Harry Della Russo Stadium on Thursday.
Photo gallery: Revere vs. Winthrop 2016 Thanksgiving football game
DeStefano said he was hoping to finish his high school football career with a win over Winthrop, Revere’s longtime rival.
“It was just amazing,” DeStefano said. “We beat them my freshman year so I was dying to win on my senior year. That’s all I cared about, getting this win.”
The senior captain scored both of Revere’s touchdowns Thursday. The first came on the game’s opening drive to give the Patriots a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
The second came just before the end of the first half, to give Revere a 14-7 lead heading into the break. That proved to be the winning touchdown for the Patriots as Revere’s defense made key plays down the stretch to hold on for the 14-7 win.
“I’m just happy that I got the chance to step up,” DeStefano said.
DeStefano’s journey this season was an interesting one. He began the 2016 campaign as an offensive lineman, at the center position. When coach Lou Cicatelli needed a physical running back to help the team’s offense, DeStefano’s number was called.
“I used to be an offensive lineman earlier in the season,” DeStefano said. “If it wasn’t for them doing their job, I wouldn’t have been in this position.”
In following the “next man up” mantra coined by the New England Patriots, DeStefano said he was willing dedicate himself to learning a new position for the benefit of the team.
“I just wanted it so bad,” DeStefano said. “It wasn’t hard at all. I just went to work.”
Standing six feet tall and weighing 235 pounds, DeStefano used his size to muscle through Winthrop’s defense for extra yardage. In a game that came down to a number of short-yard conversions on third and fourth downs, DeStefano’s bruising carries were critical for the Patriots.
Cicatelli spoke highly of DeStefano’s performance in the winning effort.
“He’s as tough as nails,” Cicatelli said. “He’s a very cerebral kid. He watches a lot of film. He watched a ton of film with us but also by himself. He wanted this game more than anyone and I think that showed in his effort.”
Cicatelli added that Destefano’s physicality in the win reminded him of New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount.
“Same type of runner,” Cicatelli said. “They (Winthrop) weren’t able to stop him and he (DeStefano) was great today.”
Now that DeStefano accomplished his goal of ending his Revere football career with a win, and an outstanding performance, his hope is to see the underclassmen on the team continue the winning trend next season.
“I know these coaches give it their all,” DeStefano said. “We came out 0-4 to start the season. To be able to turn it around (and finish 6-5), it’s a huge deal.”
DeStefano added, “I hope we can keep this going. I hope we make it a third winning season next year.”
Harold Rivera can be reached at [email protected].