The Boston College High School student rooting section had reason to be on its feet: its football team was challenging No. 1-ranked Everett in a game that was shaping up as a classic.
But in one dramatic play, Everett High quarterback Jonathan DiBiaso and receiver Jaylen McRae turned the [Crimson] Tide.
DiBiaso connected with McRae for a 64-yard touchdown pass and when Gilly Desouza booted the PAT, Everett held a 14-point lead.
Everett preserved that 35-21 margin over the Eagles the rest of the way while improving its record to 7-0 and solidifying its ranking as the top team in Massachusetts.
DiBiaso’s pivotal scoring strike had followed a roughing the kicker [punter] call against the Eagles.
“There were a few plays, not just that one in which we hurt ourselves,” said BC High coach Jon Bartlett. “I give a lot of credit to Everett. They had a nice win and they’re a good team but there were a number of time we shot ourselves in the foot.”
The Tide offense delivered with five touchdowns against a BC defense that had allowed only one touchdown in its two previous wins over Central Catholic and Marlboro.
Jonathan DiBiaso provided another solid effort, completing 15-of-29 passes for 253 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. He also had 18 carries for 49 yards and two touchdowns.
Vondell Langston continued to be a force in the rushing department. The 6-1, 215-pound senior had 19 carries for 93 yards and scored two touchdowns.
McRae was the leading receiver with five catches for 92 yards. Jakarrie Washington (4-59), Jalen Felix (2-66) and Gilly Desouza (2-14) showed the depth of the Crimson receiving corps.
For Desouza, his overall effort showed that he may be the most athletic and versatile kicker in the state. He started the afternoon with a successful onside pooch kick that Felix recovered at the BC High 36. Langston turned that play into a 12-yard touchdown run and less than two minutes into the game, the EHS band was entertaining the crowd with the “Notre Dame Victory March.”
Desouza would later add a key interception and 57-yard return to the BC High 7. DiBiaso scored on a six-yard run to give Everett a 28-7 lead. Desouza, as has become the norm, connected on all five of his PATs.
BC closed the gap in the third quarter, led by its superb running back Preston Cooper who made it 28-21 with a 59-yard touchdown run. Cooper suffered an ankle injury late in the third quarter. A hush came over the crowd as an ambulance entered the field to transport the Eagles’ star to the hospital. The Everett players, coaches, and fans showed their class with a heartfelt ovation for one of the state’s best running backs.
Everett tried to expand its lead in the fourth quarter and even pulled a trick play out of its playbook. Kenny Calaj and Jakarrie Washington joined DiBiaso for a double-reverse flea flicker but the BC High defensive back just managed to thwart the pass intended for McRae.
The game was Everett’s toughest test of the season and the team answered the call from start to finish.
“It feels great to beat what I consider a great team,” said head coach John DiBiaso. “It’s rewarding for us and I’m very proud of the kids and how they responded. I thought we came out fast and we made a concerted effort to run the ball. We rushed the ball real well, we hit some play-action passes, and we moved the ball real well in the first half. To our credit our defense played better in the second half and we hung on.”