By Greg Phipps
---- — AMESBURY – Judging from results against the same competition over the previous two weeks, Amesbury and Winthrop appeared to be evenly matched entering last night’s contest at Landry Stadium.
Both teams surrendered over 40 points in losses to North Reading while earning close victories over Weston.
In the end, it was the visiting Vikings who came through with a 28-14 win by amassing 372 yards of total offense and running 57 plays to just 31 for the Indians.
Running back Jordan Corbett-Frank rushed for 172 yards, and quarterback Dylan Driscoll finished with a combined 165 yards passing and rushing to lead Winthrop, now 5-5 on the season.
A 13-play, 81-yard scoring drive at the conclusion of the first half that gave Winthrop a 21-14 halftime lead turned out to make the difference. On fourth down, Driscoll hit Jonathan VanDelinda in the end zone with three seconds left, and Jake Chuidina knocked through the PAT kick.
“We’ve struggled on defense all year, and we couldn’t make stops when we needed them,” said Indians head coach Thom Connors, whose squad fell to 4-6. “I thought we had Winthrop stopped (on the fourth-down play). It looked like their quarterback tied up, but somehow he got loose and found the receiver. That was a real back-breaker.”
Amesbury senior captain Ben Cullen (72 yards on the ground) ran for second-quarter touchdowns of 1 and 29 yards, and Mac Short made good on both PAT attempts to account for Amesbury’s only points. The Indians ran just 14 plays in the second half. Winthrop ended up possessing the ball for nearly 16 minutes in quarters three and four.
Winthrop marched 82 yards on its first possession of the second half, culminating Driscoll’s 6-yard touchdown run and Chuidina’s subsequent point-after kick with 14 seconds remaining in the third.
The Indians did appear primed to get back in it when they responded by driving to the Winthrop 24, helped along by Short’s 36-yard jaunt. But the Vikings were able to hold and that pretty much settled the outcome.
“I thought we had some chances, but we didn’t take advantage of them,” Connors said. “We just have to move on and get ready for Thanksgiving.”
Amesbury plays at rival Newburyport in the annual Thanksgiving clash.
The Vikings opened the game by marching 60 yards, with Justin Casilla eventually plowing in from 1 yard out for an early 6-0 edge after the two-point conversion failed. The Indians took a 7-6 lead early in the second before Winthrop went back in front. Corbett-Frank blasted through a huge hole for a 26-yard score at 5:32, followed by a two-point pass from Driscoll to Chuidina to put the Vikings front, 14-7.