The Everett High football team will open its season against powerful Springfield Central Friday night at Everett Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Coach John DiBiaso’s Crimson Tide gridmen have won three Super Bowl titles in a row. Springfield is the defending Division 1 Western Mass. champion with its only loss last season coming at the hands of Everett.
Surprisingly Everett is not at the top of all the preseason polls. ESPN Boston, for example, has Everett at No. 2 behind St. John’s Prep and its Maryland-bound running back Johnathan Thomas. But as DiBiaso has often said in the past, “It’s the polls in December that count.”
The Tide outscored Lynn English and Lynn Classical in preseason scrimmages but according to DiBiaso, “We have a lot of work to do.”
Seniors Raheem Wingard and Patrick Long are vying for the starting quarterback job. Joe D’Onofrio, a transfer from Pope John High School where he was an offensive force, will start in the offensive backfield. Lukas Dennis has also earned a starting running back position.
Lubern Figaro and Michael Lopes will be the top targets in the receiving corps.
C.J. McDonald is the starting center. Other offensive linemen in the rotation are guards Eric Trickett, Muhammed Raouie, and Danny Calderone, and tackles Zach Pierre and Jonathan Collimon.
Returning linebackers Angel Duarte and C.J. Parvelus will lead the defense while Figaro is a Division 1 college recruit at defensive back. Josh Palmer will also start at defensive back.
DiBiaso expects a tough opening night test from Springfield, whose nickname is the Golden Eagles.
“Springfield won the Super Bowl in Western Mass. last year so they’re supposed to be pretty good,” said DiBiaso. “We beat them out there last year and it was their only loss.”
Everett is taking on all comers and contenders to its throne as the premier program in Massachusetts. Springfield Central is the largest school in western Massachusetts. Springfield Central produced NBA player Travis Best, who derailed Coach DiBiaso and Company in their quest for the 1991 Division 1 state basketball championship.
Joe D’Onofrio should bring plenty of excitement to EHS football games this season. D’Onofrio was the Catholic Central League MVP at Pope John and is a threat as both a running back and receiver.
A huge crowd is expected Friday night as Everett fans get their first look at the Crimson Tide.
What’s new this season is the MIAA football playoff format. Teams will qualify for the playoffs based on their records after the first seven games of the season. The playoffs will be held in Weeks 8-10, with the Super Bowl (Division 1 North champion versus Division 1 South champion) slated for Dec. 7 at Gillette Stadium. Everett would have to win four playoff games to claim the Division 1 state title.
Former Everett High All-Scholastic quarterback John DiBiaso will be sidelined for his freshman season at Dartmouth College. He is recovering from elbow surgery.