Well, it wasn’t another shutout, but the No. 1 ranked Everett Crimson Tide defeated No.8 Malden with ease 39-6 on Friday night to move on to the second round of the MIAA playoffs.
The victory over Malden was the second one of the week for Everett. Six days prior the Crimson Tide handily defeated the Golden Tornados 35-0 in Malden to win their 19th straight GBL title. This time the win was in Coach John DiBiaso’s house to kick off Everett’s playoff run.
For the first time since its win over St. John’s Prep during Week 4 of the season Everett’s offense got the scoring started on their first drive. The Tide rolled down the field with alternating carries from Marquis Holman and Isaiah Davis. Davis was the one with the ball for the TD run, darting up the right to put Everett on top 6-0.
The rest of the first quarter was not as precise and clean as Everett’s first drive. Malden QB Luven Francois led his offense into Everett territory utilizing his dangerous weapon, FB Raymond Sainristill. Sainristill was unable to convert a fourth down conversion, however, and Everett would take the ball over on downs with decent field position.
After the turnover Joe D’Onorfio took to the field for the first time since the homecoming game against Cambridge, coming back from a hamstring injury. His first carry back resulted in a fumble recovered by Malden’s Travis Clarke that would lead to an easy drive down the field for the Golden Tornado’s.
Just one yard away from taking the lead, Malden was at 3rd and Goal early in the second quarter. An inevitable scoring drive was quickly put to an end, when a high snap to Francois was lost in the backfield. Everett scooped the ball up at the 21-yard line as the Golden Tornados coughed up the points and opportunity to take the lead in a pivotal playoff game.
As if the turnover did not provide enough dramatics, Davis made an outstanding play during Everett’s next drive. At the Malden 17-yard line Raheem Wingard handed the ball off to Davis. Several defensemen jumped on him and it appeared that the play would end in a no gain. But, Davis just didn’t feel like going down, so he found his way out of the scrum and sprinted into the end zone for his second touchdown of the game. Everett tried to go for the 2-pt conversion, but failed, making the score 12-0 as the clock winded down to halftime.
Everett came out of halftime looking to set the tone for the rest of the night. Doing just that, they shut Malden’s offense down and scored on their first offensive drive of the half. Wingard showed off his arm with a stunning 42-yard touchdown pass to Lukas Denis that would give Everett a 19-0 lead with 6:54 left in the third.
The pass was so nice; they decided to do it again just a few minutes later. As if it couldn’t get any better, Denis’ second touchdown was for 73 yards as the senior racked up 100 passing yards in just two receptions.
“If he caught one more (touchdown) I would’ve been even happier,” Coach DiBiaso joked after the game when asked about Denis’ performance. “I thought he did great. We’re going to have to hit the passes more as we go on in the playoffs cause good teams are going to try and take away our running game.”
The offense wasn’t the only ones scoring for Everett under the Friday Night Lights. Defensive powerhouse, Angel Duarte, found the end zone after a tipped pass from Francois to put Everett up 33-0 with the fourth quarter still left to play.
The Golden Tornado’s were able to put one touchdown on the board to end a seven-quarter scoring drought against Everett. RB Danley Exilhomme, who took over most of the carries when Sainristill left the game with a leg injury, had a goal line touchdown to put Malden on the board with 9:30 left in the game.
Feeling comfortable with his 33-6 lead, Coach DiBiaso put in his backups to play the last quarter for Everett. Luis Cardona continued to impress marching the team down the field. It was Senior Pat Long who ran into the endzone to give Everett their last touchdown of the day; sealing the round one victory with a final score of 39-6.
Knocking out Malden was a walk in the park for Everett, but now they will be taking on one of the hottest teams in the state, No. 5 Lowell, for round two of the MIAA playoffs.
Lowell is coming off a buzz worthy season with a 5-2 record. In their first round matched up against No. 4 St. John’s Prep the Red Raiders shut out the Eagles 41-0 at the Prep. Versatile Keagan Latta had his best game of the season with three interceptions, a pick-six, a fumble recovery, and a TD pass from his own QB, Brian Dolan.
“Hopefully everybody knows Lowell’s not somebody that you mess with anymore, “Latta told reporters after the game. “We’re making our mark on the state football tournament.”
In their biggest test this season Coach DiBiaso and the Crimson Tide will need your support as they continue down their road to Gillette in round two of the Division 1 North playoffs. They will take on the Lowell Red Raiders at 7 PM at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium.