The Everett High School football team was 91 yards away from the end zone with 1:51 left to play. Score a touchdown and add an extra point by Gilly DeSousa and Everett would have a scintillating comeback victory over the No. 1 ranked Xaverian Hawks.
Everett High quarterback Jonathan DiBiaso skillfully moved the Crimson Tide offense downfield, with Manny Asprilla catching four passes to set up shop at the Xaverian 15-yard line with 17.8 seconds left.
But the Hawks’ defense stopped the Tide’s three passing attempts and then forced DiBiaso into a hurried toss on the final play of the game as Xaverian escaped Everett Memorial Stadium with a hard-fought 19-12 victory over the Tide Saturday afternoon.
Everett had taken a 7-0 lead when Vondell Langston raced 76 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. DeSousa added the PAT.
But Xaverian’s fine left-handed quarterback, Alex Phelan, soon had the Hawks’ offense in gear. Phelan threw two touchdown passes and the Hawks’ special teams recovered an Everett fumble which they converted into a touchdown and a 19-7 halftime lead.
While DiBiaso clicked with his favorite receiver. Matt Costello, for some short gains in the third quarter, it was a perfectly thrown 38-yard strike down the middle of the field to Manny Asprilla that closed the gap to 19-13 with five minutes left in the game.
The Tide defense stopped Xaverian, producing a final possession but the Tide fell 15 yards short of victory.
Xaverian coach Charlie Stevenson said after the game that his team had been pointing toward the game against Everett all season.
“We try and put teams out there for our kids to target,” Stevenson said. “We tell our team that if you want to be the best, this is the kind of level you have to play at. Everett is certainly a target for us, along with Brockton, and for us to beat them is a good step in the right direction.”
The Xaverian players were jubilant in their celebration, with one player leaping over the fence in front of the visiting bleachers into the arms of some happy Hawks rooters.
Rematch report: If Everett wants a rematch against Xaverian, it will have to win the Greater Boston League title and then defeat the Merrimack Valley Large champion in the first round of the playoffs. Xaverian would have to win the Catholic Conference title and then defeat Big Three champion (most likely, Brockton) in the semifinals. A potential Xaverian-Everett Super Bowl matchup would be played at Gillette Stadium – and what a game that would be for high school football fans.
Xaverian’s Alex Phelan certainly lived up to his billing, making some key runs to pick up crucial first downs.
Everett has the week off before setting its sights on the GBL competition. Former assistant Rico DelloIacono brings Medford to town on October 30.