By Cary Shuman
Continuing to play its best football of the season at the most important time, the Everett High School team delivered its supporters an unexpected gift: a Division 1 North championship game for this Saturday at Everett Memorial Stadium.
Coach John DiBiaso’s surging contingent bested No. 1 seed Central Catholic, 43-18, in a semifinal round game at Burlington High School. And as a result of No. 7 seed Andover’s 35-28 upset of St. John’s Prep in the other semifinal, Everett and Andover will play with a Division 1 Super Bowl berth on the line at Everett’s home field Saturday at 2 p.m.
John DiBiaso, who has been involved in more Super Bowl bid-deciding games than anyone, understands the magnitude of the game and the excitement the showdown is generating in this city and in the town of Andover, whose fans will no doubt pack the visiting bleachers and then some.
“We’re thrilled to get a home game and we’re expecting a huge crowd,” said DiBiaso. “It’s a big game.”
Senior quarterback Jordan McAfee had a superb day against Central, completing 6-of-10 passes for 212 yards and five touchdowns. Included in the McAfee package was a brilliantly executed trick play in which Anthony Norcia caught a pass and lateraled the ball to Jalil Marinez who raced 45 yards to the end zone for a touchdown and 30-6 lead at the half.
Norcia led Everett’s highly regarded receiving corps with four receptions, including three touchdowns. Jason Maitre opened the scoring with a 30-yard touchdown pass from McAfee.
Marvens Fedna helped keep the Central defense off balance with 21 carries for 94 yards.
Josh Miller provided the defensive highlight when he returned a fumble 52 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.
The Tide have proven to be a thorn for the powerful Merrimack Valley Conference, defeating powerhouses Haverhill and Central in successive weeks. Andover, also a member of the MVC, is next up for Everett.