Baptiste, Doherty lead Crimson Tide to 27-21 victory
One week after a stunning loss to Springfield Central, the Everett High School football team returned to form in a 27-21 victory over Xaverian Friday night at Everett Memorial Stadium.
Tyrese Baptiste electrified the large Everett fan section with a 63-yard touchdown run and a 74-yard punt return for a score. Meanwhile, quarterback Duke Doherty showed his dual-threat capabilities with 109 yards rushing, including a 37-yard scamper along the sidelines for Everett’s first touchdown.
Clarence Jules displayed his lightning speed on a 63-yard touchdown run that gave Everett a 21-7 lead in the third quarter.
Xaverian closed Everett’s lead to 21-14 with a touchdown with 6:17 left. The Hawks regained possession of the football and looked for the game-tying touchdown.
But junior defensive back John Smith-Howell made a great read on a long pass and intercepted the football, denying the Hawks a scoring opportunity.
Xaverian scored a touchdown in the final seconds before Everett recovered the onside kick to seal the victory.
Xaverian Coach Al Fornaro, whose team fell to 0-2, said Everett’s big plays were the difference.
“They had a punt return for a touchdown and some big runs for touchdowns,” said Fornaro. “We made a couple of mistakes, sometimes players are out of position on punt returns. And you know what they say about speed, you either have it, or you’re chasing it and most of the plays, we were chasing it.”
Fornaro noticed the speed of Jules, who reportedly ran a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash at a summer football camp. “Whenever you’re playing a team like Everett, you want to make them go laterally. We bounced it and he [Jules] made a nice cut and took it off down the sidelines.”
Everett Coach Theluxon Pierre said his team had a great week of practice leading up to the game. Also playing a major role in the Everett victory was a well-executed game plan, with the Tide staying the course even after Xaverian scored the game’s first touchdown.
“Any team could have packed it in after a loss like that [versus Springfield], but we came together and we had a great week of practice,” said Pierre. “The players said, ‘let’s get after it,’ and that’s what we did today.”
Pierre said his team has fully put the opening day setback in the rear-view mirror. “You have to have short-term memory,” said Pierre. “Our effort was better this week. We worked on our run defense all week and we played well.”
Pierre said he wasn’t surprised by Jules’ speed on his TD run. “He’s the fastest kid in the state. He clocked at a 4.41 at BC. So that tells you how fast a player he is.”
Interestingly, Springfield Central lost to Central Catholic, 52-42, Saturday, thus re-opening the path to a No. 1 ranking in Massachusetts for Everett. Everett could be looking at a rematch with Central Catholic in the Division 1 North playoffs. St. John’s Prep of Danvers is also a potential playoff foe in the North Sectionals. But Pierre and Company are not thinking about the playoffs or No. 1 rankings. Their sights are on central Massachusetts powerhouse St. John’s of Shrewsbury, whom Everett plays Friday at 4 p.m. in Shrewsbury.