When the Everett High football team responded to Xaverian’s first touchdown with a 33-yard TD run by speedy junior Damien Lackland, one the largest Everett home crowds in the past three years thought it was “game on” at Everett Memorial Stadium.
But just as quickly, Xaverian regained the momentum with an electrifying 95-yard kickoff by Jonathan Monteiro, a junior from Randolph.
Henry Hasselbeck, the
Hawks’ star-in-the-making quarterback and member of a famous football family, and Michael Oates, a UConn-bound baseball catcher, took the game over from there.
Hasselbeck, who previously attended Belmont Hill School, completed his spectacular debut for Xaverian with 227 yards passing, three TD passes, and an amazing play for a score in which he soared above the turf the last five yards into the end zone. Oates rushed for 165 yards and showed brilliantly how to utilize one’s blockers on a well-executed screen play for a 79-yard touchdown.
“I was very impressed with the entire Xaverian team,” said Everett head coach Rob DiLoreto, whose program had won its last 12 regular season games. “They played very disciplined. They played very fast, clean, and physical football in all four phases – coaching, offense, defense, and special teams. They outplayed us.”
DiLoreto agreed that Monteiro’s 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown (after Everett had tied the game at 7-7) was a major momentum-turner.
“They made three, really big plays on kick returns, and those plays had a huge impact on the outcome,” said DiLorero. “Specifically, that one kick return right after we tied the game – that was tough to recover from. We will be putting more emphasis on special teams’ execution in practice this week. I feel very confident that our team will improve from this loss, and better days lie ahead.”
.Everett quarterback Kamarri Ellerbe threw touchdown passes to Kevin Ruiz and Jaiden Williams for the other Everett scores. Giacobbe Ward provided a defensive highlight with an interception in the end zone on the final play of the first half.
Everett (0-1) plays at Somerville (0-1) Friday (6 p.m.) in the Greater Boston League opener.
Xaverian Coach Fornaro’s Comments
Xaverian head coach Al Fornaro was very happy with his team’s performance versus Everett.
“We played very well,” said Fornaro. “It’s not lost on us that they were a senior-driven team last year. They’re young and a good football team. But it is very satisfying that we could come out, execute, obviously with a new quarterback. This game is circled for everybody. Right now, I believe this [Xaverian-Everett] is the premier non-league game in the state.”
Hasselbeck’s First Post-Game Interview
Xaverian QB Henry Hasselbeck, the 6-foot-3-inch son of former NFL quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, and grandson of former New England Patriots tight end Don Hasselbeck, talked to reporters after the game.
“I’m just happy to end up with a win,” said Hasselbeck. “We just have athletes out there that helped us get there. Those big boys up front might not get the credit they need, but they’re the building blocks of this team, they’re amazing.”
Hasselbeck said he was aware of Everett’s great football tradition.
“I’ve watched film and heard the stories, and I guess we hadn’t beaten them in a little awhile, and they have some great athletes on that team. They were making some plays throughout the field, but we just came together today, and we were happy how we did that.”
Matt Hasselbeck is assisting in the Xaverian program as a coach and he and his father, Don Hasselbeck, were on the sidelines. Don Hasselbeck, who stands 6 feet, 7 inches, was a popular member of the Patriots during his years (1977-83) in Foxboro. Chelsea observers fondly remember his guest appearance at a Chelsea Pop Warner awards banquet in the early 1980s. Don Hasselbeck delivered an inspirational talk and stayed well after the banquet, signing autographs, and obliging requests for individual photos with the young football players. Mr. Hasselbeck made a positive impression on everyone at that banquet