“Protect this house,” Coach John DiBiaso told his team before their matchup against Lowell Friday night. “Tonight, we are a family. Protect your family tonight.”
The Everett Crimson Tide did everything in their power to protect their football family on Friday night. When the offense struggled, the defense was their to stop the red hot Lowell offense to keep them in the game. When Isaiah Davis went down at halftime with a knee injury, Joe D’Onofrio stepped up for his brother, picking up right where Davis left off. And with a passionate effort, Everett prevailed, shutting out Lowell 21-0 to advance to the Division 1 North Championship game.
It was all defense in the first quarter of the game. An active, blitzing Lowell defense kept the tough running back crew of Marquis Holman and Isaiah Davis quiet; forcing the offense to punt on their first two drives of the game. But, the defense held them in the game with a strong effort from Josh Palmer, Angel Duarte and CJ Parvelus.
In the second quarter the defense set up Everett’s first touchdown of the game. Senior Angel Duarte forced Lowell’s Nic Coury to fumble the ball by the 50 yard line and Isaiah Davis was right there to recover it. Then, it was Davis himself who would take the ball on 4th and 2 at the 13-yard line into the endzone to put Everett on the board first with 6:23 left to play.
Things got a bit tense at the end of the first half for Everett. Still holding on to their 7-0 lead, Isaiah Davis went down on the field as the half came to a close. Grimacing in pain, Davis made his way to the locker room on his own power. There was a debate in the lockeroom on whether or not Davis would return, but the trainers and coaches decided it would be best to keep him out for the remainder of the game.
With Isaiah Davis out of the game, there was pressure on the team on both sides of the ball to step up in his absence.
And the Crimson Tide rose above the injury. Palmer recovered another Lowell fumble to set up a fantastic series from Marquis Holman ending with a touchdown to give Everett a 14-0 lead in the fourth quarter.
Lubern Figaro was moved back to safety after Davis’ injury and had his best game of the season. With two interceptions of his own and another pick from Lucas Denis, Everett’s stonewall kept the Red Raiders silent the entire game.
“The defensive effort was strong the whole game,” Coach DiBiaso commented after the game. “It was the defense that kept us in it early and set the tone for the entire game. And then when Isaiah (Davis) went down we didn’t miss a beat. I couldn’t have asked more of the defense.”
At the end of the fourth quarter, Joe D’Onofrio added a security touchdown that gave Everett their 21-0 victory over Lowell.
Even though it was the defense that kept Everett in the game, Coach John DiBiaso wanted to make sure that the growth of the offensive line and power of Marquis Holman were not lost in the shuffle.
“I thought the key to the entire offense was Holman, he ran his fanny off. He softened them up the entire game, he set the tone for the outside, he set up all the outside plays. We pounded them inside, and the offensive line, they deserve the credit,” DiBiaso said.
As Everett celebrated their hard-earned victory Friday night, they remembered that they still have one more game to win to reach their goal of playing at Gillette.
“I’m hoping we can build on this (victory),” Coach Dibiaso said after the game. “We’re getting better and getting a lot of maturity out of some young kids—hopefully we can step it up one more time,” DiBiaso said. “We’ll be playing a very good team in Central who won [35-0] tonight. We have another challenge.”
“It feels amazing, but we’re not done yet,” Lubern Figaro said after the game. “It’s the road to Gillette. We’re not done yet, there’s still business to be done.”
Catch Everett in their final game at Veterans Memorial Stadium this season as they take on Central Catholic in the Division 1 North Championship game. Kickoff is set for Saturday at 1:30 p.m.