Everything seemed in order when Everett High junior Marvins Fedna made a heads-up interception of a Malden pass and returned it seven yards for a touchdown and a 12-0 lead in the second quarter.
Fedna’s defensive gem had followed Jack Gerace’s 12-yard return of a fumble for the game’s first touchdown.
But a fired-up Malden High squad responded with 22 unanswered points and then held off a furious comeback from Everett to claim a 22-19 victory in a Greater Boston League showdown before a large crowd Friday night at Macdonald Stadium.
Everett appeared to be in a good position to successfully complete its comeback when it recovered a well-executed onside kick. But the officials overturned the call, negating Everett’s recovery of the kick.
Malden’s ensuing possession forced Everett to utilize its timeouts, increasing the difficulty to get into field position for a game-tying and overtime-forcing kick by Omar Herrera.
Everett was hurt by four fumbles in the game. Malden’s Tahjee Elie’s had a 65-yard return of an interception.
Malden can lay claim to the GBL title with a win over Medford on Thanksgiving. Everett has won 20 consecutive GBL titles but that run will end unless Medford upsets Malden. Twenty GBL titles and 10 Super Bowl championships only reaffirms what it is known far and wide: Coach John DiBiaso has built the most successful high school football program in Massachusetts.
Everett (3-4) has its immediate sights on the Division 1 playoffs, drawing No. 1 seed St. John’s Prep (6-1) Saturday at 12 p.m. on the Eagles’ home field in Danvers. St. John’s defeated Everett, 35-13, in the regular season.
Freshman quarterback Jake Willcox, who was so impressive in his debut, sustained a fractured arm injury while throwing a pass in the Malden game. Willcox will be sidelined for the playoffs. Coach DiBiaso said that Gabriel DaSouza will be the starting quarterback versus St. John’s.
DaSouza tossed a beautiful 42-yard touchdown pass to freshman Mike Sainristil in the fourth quarter, closing the gap to 22-19 (following a Herrera PAT).
John DiBiaso was asked what it’s going to take to defeat St. John’s and advance to the semifinals. “We have to play mistake-free football. We can’t have penalties and turnovers. You’re not going to win games when you have six turnovers and don’t punch the ball in from the 1-yard line.”