Saturday, November 11, 2017

Everett Starts Fast and Hangs On to Down Central Catholic in D1 North Final

From Left: Jacob Miller, Helber, Dwayne Binns, Anthony Norcia, Jason Maitre, Jaden Mahabir pose with the MIAA Division 1 North championship trophy.
By Matt Feld (@mattyfeld612)

Some say that repeating as a state champion is the hardest feat to accomplish in high school sports. So far to date, that has not been the case for Everett.

On a frigid night at Veterans Memorial Stadium, the Crimson Tide offense fired on all cylinders as quarterback Jake Willcox threw four first half touchdown passes to lead No. 3 Everett to a 37-29 win over No.1 Central Catholic in the Division 1 North Sectional Final.

The Crimson Tide will now look to defend their Division 1 crown when they take on Xaverian in a rematch of last years Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium on December 2nd.

Willcox (17-for-26, 308 yards, 4 TDs) played behind Jordan McAfee a season ago and noted how special it is to be the focal point this time around.

“Obviously last year was great but I didn’t really do much to help out,” said Willcox. “This year, it’s just been great. I cannot wait to get to Gillette, get in there, and try to get a win.”

Trailing 37-6 midway through the third quarter the Raiders (9-1) seemed well on their way to being another blowout victim at the hands of Everett.

Central Catholic refused to pack it in, exploding for 23 unanswered points capped off by a Ty Donatio 8 yard touchdown run to pull the Raiders within eight, 37-29.

Everett (9-0) recovered the ensuing onside kick with less than a minute to go, however, to seal the sectional final victory.

While Everett has had a number of eyebrow raising performances during the 2017 season Saturday may have very well been their most impressive one to date.

After all, Central Catholic possessed traits that Everett had not yet seen. Experienced, physical, undefeated, and never one to shy away from the big moment the Raiders were more than ready for the Crimson Tide.

From the opening drive, however, Everett proved that they were once again a step above the rest.

The Tide offense totaled 300 yards in the first half, while their defense comprised of stars Duane Binns, Lewis Cine, and Mike Sainristil held Central Catholic to just 75 yards and forced a pair of turnovers through the first three quarters.

“We made the plays the first two quarters,” said legendary Everett head coach John DiBiaso. “I thought we played well defensively, we played well on special teams, and offensively we moved the ball through the air. We had some matchups and capitalized.”

On the first play of the game Willcox hit Jalen Smith for 54 yards getting the Crimson Tide down to the Raiders 20 yard line.

Six plays later, Willcox hooked up with Isaiah Likely for a three yard score to put Everett up 7-0.

A three out forced a Central Catholic punt, turning the ball over to the Tide’s offense and their multitude of weapons.

Consecutive incompletions brought up third down but Willcox quickly followed up by hitting Mike Sainristil in stride over the middle for a 65 yard score and a 14-0 lead.

“We did exactly what we practiced all week,” said Willcox. “They came out just how we thought they were going to. It was just everything we did over the week, so by the time we came out here it was second nature to us.”

Not only known for his capabilities on offense Sainristil proceeded to show his abilities as a defender. On Central Catholic’s next drive Sanristil stepped in front of a Bret Edwards screen pass for an interception.

The turnover set up Willcox’s third touchdown pass of the half as this time the junior quarterback threw a picture perfect, 22-yard ball to Anthony Norcia in the back corner of the end zone for a 21-0 Everett lead.

Willcox’s final touchdown pass of the opening half came midway through the second quarter as he connected with Likely on a stop-and-go route for an 11 yard touchdown.

“All these guys are studs,” said Willcox of his fellow playmakers. “I have the best receivers by in the state. You can’t forget about (Jason) Maitre too; he’s an absolute animal.”

Everett will get to showoff those playmakers in front of what is sure to be a packed house at Gillette Stadium in three weeks. Before then, though, they will showcase them at Fenway Park as part of the Gridiron Series on November 22.

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