However, Wile threw an interception to Winthrop’s Mike Ferrino in Newburyport territory with 1:06 remaining in the first half. Winthrop’s offense took over at the Newburyport 37-yard-line, and needed only six plays to turn the turnover into six points. Quarterback Dylan Driscoll followed his center for a 1-yard touchdown run on the final play of the first half.
Newburyport still held a 10-6 halftime lead, and seemed primed to add more points on the opening drive of the second half. An 11-play, 74-yard drive stalled at the Winthrop 18-yard-line, giving the Vikings a chance to take their first lead.
The Vikings then effectively ran the ball into the teeth of the Newburyport defense, putting together a dominant scoring drive that logged 82 yards on 16 plays and 8:01 of game time. Trailing 12-10, the Clippers responded immediately. Tyler Cusack returned the ensuing kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown, putting Newburyport ahead 16-12. Newburyport did not touch the ball again until the final minute due to another long Winthrop scoring drive.
“That’s a very good team,” said Winthrop coach Sean Driscoll. “We beat a good team. Last year was similar; it went down to the end, and we lost. We knew maybe they’d be resting for Thanksgiving. They played hard. We got their best effort.”
Winthrop’s two league losses came against Pentucket and Amesbury. Pentucket (5-5, 2-2) also has two league losses, so the champion of the CAL/NEC Division 3 will be determined at Amesbury’s Landry Stadium Thanksgiving Day.
“I’m disappointed this game wasn’t bigger,” Driscoll said. “We had a few slip-ups along the way. We have nothing to play for before Thanksgiving, so I’m happy with the effort here.”
Winthrop 18, Newburyport 16
World War Memorial Stadium, Newburyport
W — 0 6 0 12 — 18
N — 7 3 0 6 — 16
N — Colton Fontaine 65-yard interception return (Brandon Trego kick), 6:08.
N — Brandon Trego 31-yard field goal, 9:34.
W — Dylan Driscoll 1-yard run (kick failed), 0:01.
W — Driscoll 1-yard run (kick failed), 7:15.
N — Tyler Cusack 82-yard kick return, 6:57.
W — Jordan Corbett-Frank 1-yard run, 0:52.
Rushing: W — Corbett-Frank 18-48-1; Driscoll 5-17-2; Ruben Powell 7-51; David Gallo 10-65; Bo Diaz 2-9; N — Tyler Cusack 12-47; Sam Francis 6-56; Connor Wile 1-6.
Passing: W — Driscoll 4-10-68-0-2; N — Wile 7-9-47-0-1.
Receiving: W — David Capone 3-54; Corbett-Frank 1-14; N — Fontaine 5-34; Ian Michaels 1-8; Francis 1-5.