Saturday, September 9, 2017

Everett is Clear Division 1 Favorite After Thrashing of Xaverian

By Matt Feld (@mattyfeld612)

EVERETT - Within moments it was clear; The Crimson Tide are the prohibitive Division 1 favorites in 2017.

Behind a stellar opening day performance from quarterback Jake Wilcox, Everett cruised to a 38-7 victory over Xaverian on Saturday afternoon at Everett Memorial Stadium.

The lead up to the game was a recognition of the town, as it was the Crimson Tide’s homecoming, while the 44 minutes of play that followed were a non-stop celebration of a prolific Everett offense.

Wilcox, who went 11-for-16 for 305 yards and 3 touchdowns, used a multitude of offensive weapons that the Hawks were simply unable to contain.

The wide receiving core of Jason Maitre, Isaiah Likely, Mike Sainristil and Anthony Norcia, along with running back Jacob Miller were the highlights of an offensive attack that piled up 456 total yards of offense.

Five different Crimson Tide players scored on the afternoon, with each showing elusive athleticism and speed.

On the defensive side of the ball, Everett was just as explosive. The unit, headlined by nationally recruited safety Lewis Cine and Duane Binns recovered a pair of forced fumbles, and held Xaverian without a score until the game's final minutes.

“This was a great start against a good team,” Wilcox said. “We came out hard, they did too. We played well, and we were just better today.”

Right out of the gate Wilcox made it clear that the Crimson Tide are favorites to repeat as state champions.

The junior quarterback hit Maitre on a slant route for a 70-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. A successful two-point conversation gave Everett an 8-0 lead just 12 seconds in.

“Maitre ran a great route there,” Wilcox said. “Once he caught the ball he was able to break the safety's ankles. It was a great start.”

The teams traded scoreless drives throughout the remainder of the opening quarter and the beginning of the second, but late in the first half the Crimson Tide added to their lead.

A dime from Wilcox to Likely on third and 22 down the near sideline went for 55 yards, setting up a two-yard touchdown run by Miller to make it 15-0 Everett at the half.

“I thought the whole team played very well,” Everett coach John DiBiaso said. “Playing a lot of guys one way helped kept them conditioned.”

In the opening minute of the third quarter, Everett quelled any hopes of a Xaverian comeback.

Binns landed a devastating hit on Hawks running back Ike Irabor, causing a fumble that Xaverian recovered back at their own one yard line.

One play later, it was Cine who stuffed Irabor in Xaverian’s own end zone for a safety.

After the free kick gave Everett possession once again, the Crimson Tide put the game firmly out of reach as Wilcox hit Likely for a 17-yard touchdown to increase Everett’s advantage to 24-0.

“Duane’s hit on that screen pass set the tone for the whole second half,” Dibiaso said. “We don’t want to make mistakes, but we can make up for them with our speed.”

Xaverian seemed poised to break through on their ensuing drive as the combination of Irabor and back up running back Michael Saliba worked the Hawks down inside Everett’s 15 yard line.

On first and 10, however, Jordan Riggs recovered a fumble keeping Xaverian off the scoreboard.

The high octane Crimson Tide offense retook the field and picked up right where they left off minutes earlier.

Over the course of three plays Everett went 91 yards capped off by an 18-yard touchdown run by Sainristil to put the game well out of reach.

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