REVERE — After a hard-fought defensive battle, the Revere football team pulled away from Thanksgiving rival Winthrop for an 18-6 win Thursday at Harry Della Russo Stadium.
“It feels great,” Revere coach Louis Cicatelli said. “It’s three in a row for us.”
Wins in his rivalry have been few and far between for the Patriots. Winthrop leads the series — begun in 1913 — 55-29 with three ties.
The last time Revere won three straight was from 1972-74. After that, the Patriots won only four games — one of those being a forfeit — until this latest streak.
The Patriots were led by the hard running of Darius McNeil who totaled 139 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries.
“Darius, he’s our guy,” Cicatelli said. “He’s our go-to guy and our stud. He basically carried us down the stretch.”
Several key penalties came back to haunt the Vikings, who had trouble moving the ball in the second half.
“As a football coach you look at the things you can control,” Winthrop coach Jonathan Cadigan said. “Penalties are something we couldn’t recover from. We don’t have the kind of offense that can bounce back after losing yards like that.
“It’s just the execution part. We have had trouble this year with that,” Cadigan added. “They didn’t give us anything we weren’t expecting. It just comes down to being consistent and we weren’t down the stretch today.”
With both teams trading failed drives to start the game, it was the Vikings that came up with the first big play. Backed up in their own end of the field with a 3rd-and-17, the Patriots decided to throw into the strong winds. Quarterback Jonathan Murphy’s pass was intercepted by Winthrop’s Austin Daigneault to set up the Vikings offense at the Revere 21.
Four plays later, Daigneault got the Vikings on the board with a 4-yard touchdown run to put Winthrop ahead 6-0 on the first play of the second quarter.
Later in the quarter the Patriots were also able to take advantage of a short field, starting from the Winthrop 49. After a 30-yard run by McNeil put the Patriots in striking range, the senior running back finished the drive with a 5-yard touchdown to tie the game 6-6.
In the second half, Revere was once again set up with great field position after a short punt at the Winthrop 37. A few plays later Murphy rolled out to his right and found Cal Capozzi for an 11-yard score to put Revere ahead 12-6.
A big 4th-down sack by Devin Matthias on the next drive set up the Patriots with a drive at the Viking 47. Several plays later McNeil scored on a one-yard run to put Revere ahead 18-6.
The Vikings were able to march inside the Revere 20 on their final two possessions but the Revere defense held strong, with Zachary Furlong helping seal the game with an interception in the end zone.
“It was a huge stop,” Cicatelli said. “I saw Frank Sims chase down a couple of guys, he was all over the field and made some big plays. Of course the interception by Zach Furlong and the big touchdown catch by Cal, that was huge for us.
“These kids worked their tails off all year,” Cicatelli added. “They’re a great, close-knit bunch of kids and I’m real happy for them. It was a great year.”
Winthrop, which carried a three-game win streak into Thursday’s game, finished the season at 5-6. Revere finished its season at 7-4.