By Dom Nicastro
It was Oct. 6. The Revere High School football team lost its fifth-straight football game, 48-6, to Everett and fell to 0-5 on the season. They were outscored, 160-24, in those games.
Fast-forward to today, and the Patriots have gone 4-1 since that Everett game and outscored their opponents, 138-49. They have two shutouts in that string of four victories in five games. They’ve scored more than 30 points twice and over 40 once. They’ve won three in a row.
Average points allowed per game in Games 1-5: 32.
Average points allowed per game in Games 6-10: 9.8.
Average points scored per game in Games 1-5: 4.8.
Average points scored per game in Games 6-10: 27.6.
Talk about a turnaround. Revere is coming off a 33-14 win over Gloucester in its second consolation-round game. The Patriots are 4-6 overall and have won three in a row – 27-0 over Malden, 42-21 over Beverly and 33-14 over Gloucester.
Revere coach Lou Cicatelli said this has been one of the hardest seasons to coach. The team has been riddled with injuries, especially during that opening five-game stretch. And as the losses kept piling up, Revere kept searching for answers to dig out of the big hole.
They’ve answered. Emphatically.
“There is just no quit in this team,” Cicatelli said. “I’ve been telling them they had every reason to do that and they just wouldn’t let it happen. The captains – Carlos Rizo, Hakim Malki, Abbas Atoui and Walter Rodriguez – just wouldn’t let it happen. They believed in the team and showed excellent leadership all year. I can’t tell you how proud I am with how far they’ve come.”
Revere has one more mission: to compete with and beat Winthrop on Thanksgiving morning. They’ll get their chance on Turkey Day next week at home at 10 a.m.
Cicatelli said Winthrop is the real deal. They were a playoff team that got bounced in the first round by Fairhaven, 35-21, and then rebounded against North Reading, 39-22, in a consolation-round game. Winthrop beat Salem, 20-19. Salem is in the semifinals of Division 6 at the moment.
“They’re the real deal,” Cicatelli said. “They’re formidable. They’ve beaten some great teams and have been competitive all season.”
Against Gloucester last week at Harry Della Russo Stadium, it was senior quarterback Rizo’s chance to shine. He threw three touchdown passes: two to Danny Hou and one to Ahmed Bellemsieh.
Rizo and running back Geovani Woodard took the brunt of the blows in that five-game losing streak. They were bruised and battered playing with a shorthanded lineup because of injuries, and they shouldered a ton of the offensive workload without great results.
In the last two games, however, it was Woodard (four touchdowns against Beverly) and Rizo’s air assault against Gloucester that helped paved the way to two convincing victories over two old friends from the Northeastern Conference, of which Revere used to be a member. Woodard also added a TD run against Gloucester.
“That one he threw to Medy [Ahmed’s nickname] was one of the best passes I’ve ever seen,” Cicatelli said. “It’s great for Carlos. He had an amazing game, a breakout game. He really deserves it.”
Rizo said he went into the game knowing it was going to be his last game under the lights with his brothers and sisters. “From the moment I stepped on that field it was tunnel vision on the fact that I wasn’t leaving this field that night without a win, and that’s what we did,” Rizo said of the Gloucester victory. “The first drive of the game we went out there knowing it was going be a back-and-forth game so we took it one play at a time, one drive at a time and just took what the defense gave us, which led up to making the opening for those three touchdown passes which wouldn’t have happened without my offensive line; all credit goes to them and my receivers. They make my life easy. I just get the ball in their hands, and they do their thing.”
Revere’s offensive line against Gloucester included:
- Center Bryan Maia
- Guard Nico Aguirre
- Guard Rafael Teixeira
- Tackle Carlos Jimenez
- Tackle Adam Metawea
Rizo said the Patriots’ skill players spent a lot of time together during the offseason to build chemistry and get better together. “And it showed that night,” he said. “… We have one of the best receivers in the GBL, who I knew was going be open on a pre-snap read, and that’s Danny Hou. After that first touchdown pass, I knew it was going to be a party in the end zone all night.”