The Winthrop football team is coming into Thanksgiving on a bit of a roll.
“We’ve won our last two,” says coach Sean Driscoll. “I know people are still debating about whether this system is good or bad, but we’ve had a couple of good, competitive battles in the last couple of weeks, and in that sense the system works well.”
This didn’t appear to be the right year for Winthrop to have to start from scratch. With the new alignment in the Northeastern Conference, the Vikings were placed in the third tier, among a group of teams that were experiencing strong seasons. Three of the teams in that league are English, Salem and Swampscott, which combined for an aggregate 22-8 record coming into Thursday’s action.
“We had a tough schedule going in,” Driscoll said. “We knew it was going to be a little tough. We were in a good division.”
On the other hand, “we have a lot of young kids on the team,” he said, “and they are playing major roles. We probably have more kids on the team than I’ve had in a long time.”
The Vikings have started four freshmen, and sometimes five. All told, there are 20 freshmen on varsity while there are only six seniors.
“Our goal going in was to get better each week,” said Driscoll. “We did that. I’m proud of our seniors for staying the course and for staying positive. I’m really happy about that.”
Driscoll’s senior four-year starter Calvin Tufa was one of the team’s go-to players. The offensive/defensive man “never leaves the field.
“Quarterback Jake Adamson, another senior, is another one. He’s always on the field too,” Driscoll said. “This was his first year at quarterback for us. He’s leading the team offensively and he’s a big reason why we’ve gotten the last two wins under our belts.”
Beyond the fact that it’s Thanksgiving, there’s an extra-added attraction this year for the Vikings. After two years of getting on buses every week and traveling, they will play on their own field.
“We’re excited about that,” Driscoll said. “It came out beautiful. We’re imagining not having to get on a bus to go to a game. We haven’t done that in two years.”
Naturally, that hasn’t helped the Vikings’ cause — especially with a young team.
“We got through it though,” said Driscoll. “It was hard. I don’t know of any other team that has had to do it two years in a row.”
Driscoll says his team’s biggest problem this year was that one or two things would go wrong in a game and things would unravel.
“We seem to be there in the first couple of quarters, but then would kind of lose it.
“When something goes wrong, when it doesn’t go your way, the next play we seemed to struggle. And you get that ‘here we go again’ attitude. The scores don’t reflect the effort that’s been given in some of these games.”
He sees a similar team in Revere.
“I honestly believe we’re two of the same teams,” he said. “They’re rebuilding too. We’ve each won two games.
“Usually, these games come down to turnovers,” he said. “I think this is an evenly-matched game. I could be wrong. We could lose 50-0. But we’re pretty even in the youngness and in not having that experience. It could make for a competitive game.”