By Cary Shuman
There is only one place to be on Saturday If you’re a high school football fan: Everett Veterans Memorial Stadium.
In one corner, you have head coach John DiBiaso and Everett, undeniably the most successful program in Massachusetts. In the other corner you have head coach E.J. Perry III and an Andover team that has become the Cinderella story of the MIAA State playoffs with upsets of unbeaten Lexington and Catholic Conference titan St. John’s Prep.
The prize for the winner is a trip to the Super Bowl and the opportunity to play for the Division 1 state championship against either Xaverian or Boston College High School.
The game matches up two of the finest high school quarterbacks in Massachusetts in Everett’s Jordan McAfee and Andover’s E.J. Perry IV.
McAfee, who will be attending the University of Connecticut, had a 5-touchdown performance in Everett’s impressive 43-18 victory over Central Catholic. McAfee is third in Division 1 with 21 touchdown passes and his top receiver, Anthony Norcia, is second in TD receptions with 10.
Perry, son of Andover’s head coach, is having a phenomenal postseason. He leads the state in touchdown passes with 37 and has an additional 12 touchdowns on the ground. His leading receiver is Joe Rockwell, who has 11 TD receptions.
John DiBiaso has seen E.J. Perry IV and Andover compete in person and he’s very impressed by the Golden Warriors.
“I’m not surprised by their two wins in the playoff because they have a great quarterback,” said DiBiaso. “I have a lot of respect for Andover. They’re an excellent team.”
Can the Tide slow down the E.J. Perry Express?
That’s one of the key questions in what shapes us as the game of the year in Eastern Mass. football for 2016.
The best advice: get there early.