Football seasons don’t come any better than the one achieved by The Everett Crimson Tide Pop Warner Patriot Division team.
Undefeated. Greater Boston League champion. State champion. New England champion. National champion.
Head coach Dennis Willcox’s Everett juggernaut won all 17 games and outscored its opponents, 553-41, during a perfect season that culminated with three victories in the National Pop Warner Championships at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
It wasn’t until the New England final that Everett allowed a touchdown, besting Oakwood, Rhode Island, 30-6, to advance to the national finals.
The Everett team consists of eighth grade players who compete in a division with no weight limits. The players came up through the ranks of the Crimson Tide Pop Warner system that has been an excellent feeder system for coach John DiBiaso’s vaunted Everett High program.
Playing against the top teams in the country in Florida, the Everett contingent defeated Oak Park, Michigan, 36-14, in the quarterfinals and hometown favorite Dr. Phillips of Orlando, Fla., 24-22, in the semifinals.
Everett led Dr. Phillips, 24-0, before the Floridians closed the gap to 24-22, just missing on a two-point conversion kick that hit the crossbar. Everett ran out the clock to preserve an exciting victory. Gabriel DeSouza booted three successful conversions to account for the two-point margin of victory. Daniel DeCastro rushed for more than 100 yards in the game.
Everett quarterback Jake Willcox, son of head coach Dennis Willcox, put on a show in the national championship game, throwing four touchdown passes and for 200 yards in a 39-0 victory over the Reno (Nev.) Miners. In the three playoff games, Willcox had nine TD passes and 500 passing yards. Running the Everett High spread, no-huddle offense to perfection, Willcox threw 35 touchdowns passes during the season.
Jake Willcox’s top receivers were Gabriel DeSouza, Mikey Sainristil, Ricky Martinez, and Devin Pulsifer.
The standouts for Everett’s defensive unit were linemen Giovanni Raduazzo, Kerbilly Ducasse, Marcus Romboli, and Sal DiPierro, and linebackers Devin Pulsifer, Daniel DeCastro, David Fanni, and Anthony Escobar. The lightning fast defensive backs were Mikey Sainristil, Omaro Sesay, and Chonlee Cine.
Dennis Willcox had coached many of Everett players in the E, D, and C divisions, twice advancing to the New England finals. He coached the ‘A’ team last season before reuniting with many of the players for their final seasons in the Pop Warner program.
“It had been our goal since the ‘D’ squad to qualify for Florida and win the national title,” said Willcox. “For it to actually happen was really a blessing. We achieved our goal.”
Dennis Willcox has been a coach on John DiBiaso’s varsity staff for five seasons.
“What I’ve learned from coach DiBiaso has been amazing,” said Willcox. “He taught me everything.”
Willcox said the future for Everett High football looks bright and he and his players have high expectations beginning this fall.
“The players have a new goal of winning multiple Super Bowls and we’re not going to settle for anything less.”