TRAVELING IN STYLE
Tide looks great in 33-7 victory at Leominster
While Leominster High is one of the few schools in the Commonwealth whose football pedigree is as gold-dusted as the Crimson Tide’s, Friday’s game had the trappings of a slog.
A long bus ride out beyond the distant boundaries of Route 495 … Afternoon rain followed by early-evening humidity … The possibility the Tide wouldn’t match the energy level of the Week 1/Homecoming thumping of Xaverian … The chance that minds would wander to this Saturday’s visit to St. John’s Prep …
We can stop there. If the Tide were aware of any traps, they eased over them with style and force. The consensus No. 1 team in the state, EHS was anything but disengaged or distracted in making quick work of the host Blue Devils, 33-7, behind more scintillating passing and catching from quarterback Jake Wilcox and his cast of fantastic receivers, electric special teams, and overwhelming defense.
“The players worked very hard this week, they were focused, and they’re doing their best to improve every day in practice,” said head coach John DiBiaso. “Leominster is a great environment for high school football, and our players responded to that with a strong all-around effort.”
In terms of X’s and O’s, the Crimson Tide laid out a buffet with something for everyone: Duane Binns blocked a punt early in the first quarter to set up his team’s first touchdown; Jason Maitre scored on a circuitous 85-yard punt return in which he swiftly navigated his way from the near sideline, clear across the field and into the opposite corner of the end zone; junior quarterback Jake Wilcox completed seven passes for 151 yards and three touchdowns, including a 40-yard pass to Mike Sainristil that a drone couldn’t have dropped in with more accuracy; senior running back Jacob Miller added 69 yards on eight carries; and the defense surrendered only 142 yards of offense, and the Blue Devils’ starters didn’t penetrate Everett’s 25-yard line.
Thirteen EHS players carried the ball, threw a pass, or made a reception. The second-unit offense and defense played the entire fourth quarter. No significant injuries were reported. Indeed, there was nothing not to like about this year’s journey to Doyle Field, a beautifully renovated and spacious stadium that wouldn’t be out of place on a college campus.
“We love playing Leominster,” DiBiaso said of the traditional Central/Western Massachusetts power that has appeared in 17 Super Bowls and won 12 of them. “Both schools have a ton of tradition and great respect for each other.”
Everett’s first possession ended on downs, but the blocked punt by Binns set up the Tide at the Leominster 32-yard line. Consecutive, hard-nosed catch-and-runs by Anthony Norcia (for 11 yards) and Isaiah Likely (16 yards) set up a 5-yard touchdown run by Maitre. Kevin Brown plowed over the goal line for the 2-point conversion, and EHS was sufficiently warmed up.
Everett’s next series culminated in an 8-yard scoring connection between Wilcox and Likely. It was a beautiful delivery into the corner of the end zone, to a spot where only Likely could make a play on the ball.
After Maitre’s punt return pushed the lead to 20-0, Wilcox and tight end Jalen Smith teamed up for a 64-yard scoring strike. After getting a free release off the line of scrimmage, Smith caught a soft pass, in stride, and won a 35-yard or so race with a Blue Devil defensive back to the goal line.
The aerial show came to an end in spectacular fashion on the first series of the second half. Facing a third-and-14 from the Leominster 40-yard line, Wilcox lofted a high pass down the middle of the field, over the outstretched hands of a Leominster defender, and right into the chest of Sainristil, who didn’t have to slow down a single beat as he made the catch and sailed into the end zone. In two games, Wilcox has completed 18-of-28 passes for 458 yards and five touchdowns — good for an average of more than 25 yards per completion.
Despite those numbers, the Tide’s running game showed up Friday night, particularly in third quarter when Miller and Brown (who finished with 27 yards on five carries) led their team on a 10-play drive that burned six minutes off the clock. When the fourth quarter stared, freshman Duke Doherty was under center and the game under total control.
Leominster’s longest play of the night was a 14-yard screen pass. The Blue Devils’ best scoring chance vs. Everett’s starters came on its last series of the first half when two EHS penalties helped them advance from their own 20-yard line to the Everett 28 with under 30 seconds showing on the clock. But the Tide’s defensive front swallowed up a running play on fourth-and-1. Lewis Cine, Chonlee Cine, Jordan Riggs, Fritz Durosca, and Josh Miller are among the defenders who have made a big impact in the early going.
In other action this past weekend involving Everett’s 2017 opponents: Xaverian shook off its Week 1 loss with a very impressive, 32-7, victory over Bridgewater-Raynham; Central Catholic shut-out St. John’s Prep, 21-0; Medford beat Winthrop, 26-8. Masconomet (Everett’s Thanksgiving opponent) dispatched Malden Catholic, 24-6; and Malden suffered a lopsided loss to Lynn Classical, 41-7.
The Crimson Tide have won 10 consecutive games dating back to last October … Maître had an interception, scored a rushing touchdown, and returned a punt for a TD. He had a second punt return taken off the scoreboard due to a penalty … Isaiah Likely has five catches for 115 yards and two touchdowns through two games, while Mike Sainristil has five grabs for 84 yards … Five of Leominster’s first seven plays were incomplete passes. The Blue Devils then shifted to a double-wing look, which Everett’s defense did a good job of adjusting to on the fly … Junior Robbie Riobe delivered a couple of big hits on kick coverage … Penalties are sure to be an area of discussion this week in practice. Everett was flagged seven times, a couple of which gave Leominster first downs.
EHS boys soccer team stands at 2-0
The Everett High boys soccer team, playing in the newly aligned Northeastern Conference, has sprinted to a 2-0 start this season with victories over new NEC foes Winthrop and Lynn English.
The Crimson Tide got off to an inauspicious debut in their season-opener under the lights at Everett Stadium last Monday against Winthrop, yielding a goal in the opening minutes.
However, junior striker Juan Meza brought Everett back to level with a goal before the half ended. The Crimson Tide then took control in the second 40-minutes, with Meza reaching the back of the Winthrop net two more times to record a hat trick, junior forward Brandon Alanis scoring twice, and sophomore left wing Henrique DaSilva scoring once for the 6-1 finale.
Seniors Mohamed Madkour and Mikerlentz Ascilieu shared the goalkeeping duties, playing 40 minutes apiece.
This past Friday evening, the Crimson Tide trekked to a rainy Manning Field and came home with a 2-1 win over the Lynn English Bulldogs. Everett had some nice chances in the opening half, most notably when sophomore Bryan Natal hit the post. But when the ref sounded his whistle after 40 minutes of play, the teams stood at nil-nil.
However, Meza broke the deadlock after the intermission when he headed the ball into the back of the English net from a corner kick volley delivered by senior captain Rodney Landaverde.
Natal then scored a goal when he put home a pass by Meza, who had beaten the English defender, pulling out the English keeper.
Everett had several more opportunities to score, including a shot by Arthur Tedesco that bounced off the crossbar, but could not add to its margin. English got on the board with about 10 minutes to play, but the Crimson Tide defense held firm to preserve the win.
“We have a lot of young players and newcomers to the varsity, so we’re still working to mesh as a team,” said EHS head coach Oswaldo Constanza. “This has been a nice start to our season in a new conference.”
The Crimson Tide are set to hit the road for a busy stretch of contests. They were scheduled to play at Malden yesterday (Tuesday); at Brockton tomorrow (Thursday); at Lowell Saturday; and at Gloucester Monday. They return home next Wednesday evening to entertain Lynn Classical under the lights at the Stadium at 7 P.M.
EHS volleyball team defeats Winthrop
The Everett High volleyball team split a pair of games with Northeastern Conference opponents this past week, defeating Winthrop 3-1 before falling to Swampscott 3-0.
Making their first visit to new NEC foe Winthrop, Everett dropped the first set before rallying to win the next three sets. In the opener, things began well for the visitors, as senior Giana Escobar served five in a row and junior Daiehney Vaz had two kills and block to give Everett an early lead.
Missed serves proved to be a problem however, as was the case in Everett’s first loss against Salem. After hitting on their first 10 attempts, Everett missed on seven of their next 12, ultimately dropping the set, 25-22.
However, Everett’s servers roared back in the second set, hitting on all but two in the set, including an ace from senior Stephanie Ariste on set point. Senior captain Isabella Lyles had a block and kill to go along with three service points, and junior outside hitters Janeka Vilmont and Kayla Gomes chipped in with kills.
In the third set, Gomes hit on three aces, Ariste and senior captain Yasmeen Guerrier had kills, and Lyles had five kills and an ace, leading the Tide to a 25-21 win.
In the fourth set, Everett found themselves down 13-8 when Ariste rattled off 10 serves in a row, including seven aces, to take the lead. Guerrier had three more serves to build a 23-19 lead, and Lyles closed out the set and the match.
“Our girls showed a lot of heart,” said head coach Mike Fineran. “We kept fighting. We were up, we were down, but we kept playing and made enough plays to pull it out.”
The results would not be as favorable when the Lady Crimson Tide hosted Swampscott this past Friday. Everett built an early lead on three aces from Gomes and a block and kill from Vaz, but after missing three consecutive serves, Everett saw a 9-6 advantage turn into a 21-12 hole that led to a 25-17 loss.
Bad passing put the Lady Tide behind 10-0 in the second set, which they lost 25-12.
“We have to play better, and we know that,” said Fineran. “We also know we can play better. We have great servers and capable passers. We just have to limit our mistakes and not let them snowball on us.”
Fineran lauded his team for continuing the fight in the third set. Ariste and Vilmont had blocks, and Ariste and Lyles had kills. Juniors Fernanda Aiala and Laryssa Souza played solid defense from the back row, but Swampscott prevailed 25-19.
The Lady Crimson Tide, who stand at 2-2 through the first two weeks of the season, were set play their first non-league game in Lowell tonight (Wednesday) before hosting NEC rival Malden tomorrow (Thursday).
Everett’s JV team is 4-0 and the JV B team is 3-0.