Saturday, September 15, 2018

RECAP & VIDEO: Sainristil Does It All as No. 1 Everett Comes Up Big at Mansfield

Recap by Eamon Convey (@ConveyWEEI), Videos by Matt Siegel (@SportsVideoMA)

Mansfield, Mass. -- Unequivocally the premiere game of week two, the No. 3 Mansfield Hornets hosted the reigning defending Division I Super Bowl Champion No. 1 Everett Crimson Tide on Friday evening.

Mike Sainristil's performance alone made sure the game did not disappoint as he compiled 110 receiving yards, two touchdowns, and reeled in three more interceptions to lead Everett past Mansfield, 41-14, in front of a full house at Alumni Field.

Despite those back-to-back titles, it was tumultuous off-season for the Tide. A dizzying roster shakeup ensued after legendary head coach John DiBiaso signed on to lead the program at Catholic Memorial.

As it always does, Everett (2-0) simply retooled and reloaded.

In the Tide’s season-opening, Super Bowl rematch with No. 5 Xaverian (0-1), newcomer Isaac Seide ran for 165 yards on 14 carries and three touchdowns, and the veteran wide receiver in Sainristil hauled in eight catches for 103 yards and two scores to pace the Everett offense to a 34-21 victory at the Hawk Bowl.

Despite the constant intrigue surrounding Everett, no team in the state had more to prove in week two than upstart Mansfield after it eked out a 21-7 win over a rebuilding BC High team.

Man, did the Hornets ever play like it. At least for the first quarter. 

Sainristil recognized the Hornets momentum early, “I think it just took a second for us to wake up. I can’t control the whole defense but I was telling the guys ‘wake up, let’s go’ and after that we started to get it together.”

Senior quarterback Damani Scott looked sharp early in the Hornets run-pass option offense, and found sophomore wide receiver Cinere Gill for multiple chunk plays, including on the opening drive of the game which was capped off by a Nick Marciano three-yard touchdown run. 

Not to be outdone, Everett’s new starting signal-caller, sophomore Dillon Doherty orchestrated an opening drive that included a 24-yard strike to Virginia Tech commit Mike Sainristil and a two-yard keeper that tied the game, 7-7 at the end of the first.

Head Coach Theluxon Pierre said the message after the opening score by the Hornets was simple.

“That is football. The game is not won in the first quarter," said Pierre. "There are four quarters. They might punch first, we have to respond. They punched first and we responded.”

“Those are my special guys,” Pierre said of his receivers, “they make plays when we need them and they did that tonight.”

From there Everett’s defense tightened the screws and forced a three an out during which Scott was running for his life. Pressure up the middle from senior tackle Gilbert Kabamba led the way for the Tide’s budding linebackers to shoot gaps at will.

Two long Sainristil touchdown receptions (51 and 36 yards respectively), sandwiched around a 37-yard slant to the house by sophomore Tyrese Baptiste, and added to by an Isaac Seide two-point conversion gave Everett a three-score lead going into the half.

“Dillon (Doherty) is a young kid,” Sainristil said of his sophomore signal-caller. “I tell him constantly just to trust himself and trust us, his weapons. He did that and I was able to make a couple plays.”

Mansfield received the second half kickoff before its offense sputtered again and Scott eventually threw his third interception of the game, all into the hands of Sainristil. 

“I could tell he was the type of quarterback that gets nervous when he feels pressure,” Sainristil said of Scott. “Our big guys started to get that pressure, made him throw on the run, put up a couple of ducks and I grabbed them.”

With the ball back and a big lead, the Tide effectively executed a run-heavy scheme with Seide battering the Hornets defense before junior Eli Auguste caught a 10-yard touchdown from Doherty that put the tide up, 34-7.

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