Top-Ranked Xaverian Bests Everett, 21-14: Home Opener Versus Tough Tewksbury Friday

Continuing on the toughest non-league schedule in Massachusetts, the Everett High football team fell to No. Xaverian, 21-14, at the Hawk Bowl in Westwood.

And if you were looking for a break in the schedule, there isn’t one in sight. Tewksbury, the reigning Division 3 state champion with a 14-game winning streak, comes to Everett Memorial Stadium Friday night for the Tide’s home opener.

Coach Charlie Stevenson’s Hawks lived up to their advance billing as the state’s top-ranked team, containing Everett’s offense in the first half while building a 14-0 lead. A large crowd that packed the home bleachers seemed to energize the Hawks in their season opener.

The Tide, behind sophomore quarterback Jordan McAfee, rallied in the second half. McAfee’s 25-yard TD pass to Boston College-bound senior Lukas Denis sliced the lead to 14-7.

But Xaverian took the starch out of Everett’s comeback by scoring a touchdown on the ensuing possession. McAfee’s second TD pass of the game, a 5-yarder to Gary Clark, gave Everett’s rooting section hope, but the Hawks were able to pick up the necessary first downs to deny Everett a potential, game-tying possession.

Stevenson felt his team’s early stoppage of the run was crucial in the victory.

“We played really good run defense and it really made them a little bit one-dimensional relying on the pass attack,” said Stevenson. “I know that’s probably not what they really want to do so we kind of forced them in to a situation that they’re not 100 per cent comfortable with quite yet with a young quarterback although he’s a very good one and he’s going to be a guy who can do that kind of stuff. But it might have been a little quick for him to do that.”

Stevenson said Everett’s vaunted running attack is well known and its offensive line always highly regarded.

“Whenever you play Everett, you need to be aware of their running attack. They have some very good backs and a good offensive line and we had to play our very best with our front seven and hope our defensive backs could cover their good receivers. The key for us defensively, though, was stopping their run game.”

CRIMSON TIDE NOTEBOOK

Lukas Denis is certainly one of the most exciting players in the state and Everett fans who didn’t travel to Springfield or Westwood will get their first look at the speedy senior who can make big plays on defense and offense. Denis had to be pleased with his future BC team’s tremendous win over USC Saturday night at Alumni Stadium. Crimson Tide alumnus Manny Asprilla played a key role as a starting cornerback in the victory.

Former Everett star Lubern Figaro has started at defensive back in Wisconsin’s first two games of the season versus LSU and Western Illinois. For Figaro, a freshman, to step in and be a starter for a Division 1 powerhouse such as Wisconsin – it shows how talented a player he is and how well the Everett coaches prepared him to compete at the next level.

Charlie Stevenson said his program enjoys playing Everett each year. Xaverian and Everett could meet again in the Division 1 Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. “We have great respect for the Everett football team and the Everett coaches and their program. We’ve had a very long-term non-league rivalry with Brockton that has developed in to a really outstanding non-league rivalry and I think the same thing is happening with Xaverian and Everett. My intention is to continue our non-league games with Everett.”

Xaverian had two recognizable names on its roster: junior Coby Tippett, son of former New England Patriots star Andre Tippett, and junior D’Aundre Holmes-Wilfork, son of current Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork.

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