THE KICK BY NICK
Mazzie’s memorable moment produces a Central victory
By Cary Shuman
Nick Mazzie is a placekicker for the Central Central High School football team. He’s had some big field goals in the past, including a 41-yarder last year as a freshman.
But Nick’s game-winning 34-yard field goal in a playoff game in the city where his father, Steven Mazzie, is the chief of police, soared right to the top of the list of highlights in the 15-year-old sophomore’s career.
With the game tied at 20-20 and 57 seconds remaining, Mazzie kicked the ball thought the uprights, accounting for the winning points in Central’s 23-20 upset of Everett in the Division 1 North semifinals.
Central Catholic head coach Chuck Adamopoulos said he had predicted a game-winning kick by Nick during the week.
“Nick’s a good kicker and I’m not lying to you, I said to the coaches, ‘his dad is the police chief in Everett and I’ll tell you right now, it’s going to come down to a field goal, and the police chief of Everett’s son is going to hit it, I said this last week. All the coaches said to me right away, ‘You’re Nostradamus, you called this thing last week.’’’
Mazzie was asked if he had thought of a scenario in which he would be called upon to kick the winning field goal.
“That’s always in the back of my head – I can’t believe it actually happened,” said Mazzie. “I just acted like it was another kick and I kicked it.”
But the kick will forever be remembered at Central and in Everett as “The Kick By Nick” – a supremely clutch field goal that ended Everett’s 27-game winning streak and bid to win its third straight Division 1 state championship.”
Nick said he knew the kick was true the moment it left his right foot.
“Right when I kicked it, I put my hands up and I knew it was good,” said Nick
He has been a kicker since the sixth grade when he lived in Boxford and played in the Masconomet youth football program.
“I started kicking PATs and I just worked on it and got better,” said Nick.
He expected that it would be a difficult test against Everett. “We were so excited to play these guys. We knew it was going to be a hard-fought game and we came out with the victory.”
Nick credited the holder, JJ Mercruri, and the long snapper, Ryan Finneran, for their contributions to the winning play. “Great snap, great hold, great kick,” he said.
Chief Steven Mazzie said he has been working with his son on his placekicking techniques since his youth football days. He was confident that Nick would make the kick with the game on the line.
“I was sure he would make the kick,” said Mr. Mazzie. “I’ve been working with him since he was a little boy. We’ve been doing this over and over. He started kicking in the sixth grade and he’s progressed nicely over the last number of years. He’s become efficient at doing it and he likes doing it – and we talked about potentially hitting the game-winner against Everett. He’s actually practiced on this field before.”
Among the family members cheering on Nick Mazzie was Adolph Mazzie Jr., Steven Mazzie’s 87-year-old father who played football at Everett High School. Also enjoying the game was Nick’s mother, Katrina.
There were conversations about the Central-Everett game all of last week inside the Everett Police Station.
“They were talking about a 14-to-24-point spread and I said, ‘Gee, give us [Central] a little credit,’” said Mazzie, who played football at Pope John High School (Class of 1985). “I think they’ll come to play. And they did. They came to play. It was an excited high school football game and it makes you feel good that you raised a boy who can hit the game-winner.”
EHS boys soccer drops heartbreaker in tourney; refs’ non-call a key factor
For 88 minutes in their first-round game of the MIAA state soccer tournament last Friday at Lexington, the underdog Everett High boys’ soccer team, which entered the North Sectional of the tourney as the 16th and final seed with a 6-6-6 record, had battled the top seed, Lexington (15-1-1), to a 1-1 standoff.
Coach Oswaldo Constanza’s Crimson Tide had taken a 1-0 lead at the 30-minute mark of the first half when Everett’s leading scorer, Andy Elysee, reached the back of the Lexington net with a powerful strike from the right-hand top of the box that beat the Lexington keeper to the far corner.
Josue Lopez, who had been called up from the junior varsity team, earned an assist on the play, having beaten his man and laying off a nice pass to Andy, who had just enough space after settling the ball and making a quick move on the Lexington defender to create an opening for a clean shot on goal.
The Crimson Tide defense and keeper Fab Souza made the 1-0 advantage hold up for the next 40 minutes, until Lexington similarly found an opening for a clean shot and brought the game back to level with 10 minutes to go.
As the teams battled furiously thereafter, with neither able to punch through, the contest appeared headed into overtime.
However, with about two minutes to play and the ball in the area of the Everett box, the Crimson Tide’s Thiago Almeida lay motionless in the box.
Inexplicably, and despite entreaties by the Everett players to the referees, the refs allowed the play to go on with Almeida lying helplessly on the turf.
And the refs let the teams play on — and on — and on.
Indeed, they did not blow their whistle until Lexington scored a goal a minute later.
At that point, the seriousness of Almeida’s condition became apparent. An ambulance arrived and Thiago was brought off the field in a stretcher and taken to the nearest hospital.
The good news is that Almeida is alright.
“Thiago fell hard on his back and must have landed in such a way that it affected his spinal nerves or a disc, leaving him essentially paralyzed,” said Constanza. “Thankfully however, he was able to leave the hospital later that evening on his own.”
“But what explained the refs’ refusal to stop play?” was the lingering question left in the minds of Everett players and fans in the aftermath of their 2-1 defeat.
“Player safety always is a priority,” noted Constanza. “The refs were quick to stop play in the first half when a Lexington player went down — but they obviously did not do so for us.
“It was a very disappointing way to end the game,” Constanza added, noting that he had received many emails afterwards from Lexington parents and staff inquiring of Almeida’s condition, expressing their concern and best wishes for his recovery. “We felt as though we deserved to go into overtime, so to lose the game in this manner was very tough to accept.”
4 EHS boys named NEC all-stars
Four members of the Everett High boys soccer team received post-season accolades at a meeting of the coaches of the Northeastern Conference.
Andydavens Elysee and Henrique DaSilva were named First Team All-Stars in the South Division of the NEC. Teammates Thiago Almeida and Christian Rosales were named to the Second Team.