|Everett quarterback Jordan McAfee played one of the most efficient games of his stellar career Saturday.|
Ed. Note- Continue to the bottom of this piece for highlights of Everett's big win, courtesy of Everett High School TV.
BURLINGTON, Mass. – For a few minutes, the outcome seemed to be in doubt, but Everett ultimately rolled to a 43-18 victory over Central Catholic Saturday.
Everett raced out to a 23-0 lead over top-seeded Central Catholic in their Division 1 North semifinal matchup, but the Raiders were finally able to break through with a long kick return and a 48-yard touchdown pass.
Then the defending D1 North champions recovered an onside kick, and quarterback Bret Edwards led the Raiders deep into Everett territory to set up a critical fourth-and-five with thirty seconds remaining in the first half.
However, defensive captain Duval Paul and linebacker Josh Miller sacked Edwards for a loss of 26 yards, and the Everett offense put the game out of reach before the teams even headed to their locker rooms.
Senior quarterback Jordan McAfee (6-of-10, 211 passing yards, 5 TDs) hit junior wide receiver Anthony Norcia (4 receptions, 137 yards, 3 TDs) across the middle for about 15 yards. Then Norcia flipped the ball to streaking teammate Jalil Martinez, who promptly burst past the defense for a 58-yard touchdown on a classic hook-and-latter play as the clock hit triple zeroes to end the first half.
Up 30-6 at the break, and 37-6 early in the third quarter when Miller returned a fumble 52 yards for another score, Everett had no trouble holding on to defeat Central Catholic 43-18 to advance to the D1 North Final.
“We’ve been a good team all year,” asserted Everett head coach John DiBiaso. “We’re two plays away from being undefeated. Both our losses came down to the last play and the fact that we played a tough schedule is beneficial to us. Now we’re rolling at the right time and these kind of games don’t faze us too much.”
For the second straight week, the Crimson Tide drove right down the field on their opening drive for a quick touchdown. Workhorse running back Marvens Fedna (20 carries, 87 yards) set the tone in a no-huddle set before McAfee found junior Jason Maitre for a 30-yard touchdown to make it 6-0.
“It’s asking a lot for high school kids to run no huddle, and double-wing, and spread, and all the different formations we run, and they executed pretty well,” DiBiaso recognized.
Then the defense and special teams stepped up for Everett, recovering a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, blocking a field goal attempt to keep the Raiders off the board and forcing two punts to keep the offense in great field position.
While the Tide lapsed defensively in allowing a 48-yard touchdown catch to Central Catholic senior David Onyemen, that unit came up clutch at the end of the first half with a stop on fourth down, and basically sealed the deal early in the second half when Gerell Boyce stripped the ball carrier and Miller picked it up for a 52-yard return touchdown to make it 37-6 early in the third quarter.
“We told the defense that they had to hold serve,” said DiBiaso. “We had to get off the field and get our offense the ball and we had a few key stops before that fumble return to begin the second half. We made big plays to switch the momentum.”
After crushing No. 5 Haverhill at Trinity Stadium last Saturday and handling the top-seeded Raiders, it’s safe to say that Everett has plenty of momentum heading into a sectional finals tilt against No. 7 Andover next weekend.
“We call it a home invasion because we knew we’d have to win on the road,” Norcia said about the Tide’s path to the D1 state semifinals. “The seeding was a little disrespectful, but we worked for this all summer long and, even though we faced two great teams, we knew no matter what that we would come out on top.”
Everett Tops Central Catholic from Joe Parello on Vimeo.
Video courtesy of Everett High School TV. Edited by Joe Parello.