Crimson Tide edges out strong Tewksbury team, 21-20
By Cary Shuman
The Everett High football team ended Tewksbury’s 14-game winning streak Friday night, rallying in the second half to defeat the Redmen, 21-20, Friday night at Everett Memorial Stadium.
Led by its dynamic senior running back, James Sullivan (2 TDs), Tewksbury took a 20-14 lead into the half. But Everett held the powerful Redmen scoreless in the second half while quarterback Jordan McAfee and receiver Lukas Denis delivered the tying touchdown in the third quarter on a 29-yard post pattern. Placekicker Matheus Varela booted his third PAT of the game to provide the point that ultimately proved to be the difference on the scoreboard.
Everett’s winning touchdown was a view of the team’s exciting present and future. Denis, a Boston College-bound, gave the crowd a glimpse of his excellent speed and skills with a splendid reception in the middle of the field. McAfee, a talented sophomore, showed his strong arm with a strike to Denis, who had found a crease in Tewksbury’s fine secondary.
“That was a big play to put us up,” said Everett coach John DiBiaso.
Brendan Jefferson, a 6-feet-3, 250-pound lineman, led a terrific effort in the second half by the Everett defense. Senior Shawn Chappell, sophomore R.J. Fialli, and defensive backs Nick Orekoya, Ralph Dupervil, Derell Felix, and Lukas Denis also helped contain Tewksbury quarterback Brett Morris, Sullivan, and the Redmen’s offense over the final 22 minutes.
DiBiaso also singled out the Tide’s special teams unit. In addition to Varela’s 3-for-3 kicking, the Tide recovered a well-executed onside kick to start the second half and recovered a fumble on a punt.
Everett punter Omar Herrera also made a key play when he scooped up a fumbled snap and brought the Tide a first down after a Tewksbury player was assessed a grabbing-the-facemask penalty on the play. Orekoya later scored on a 1-yard run to give the Tide a 14-13 lead.
Orekoya had scored Everett’s first touchdown on a 47-yard run in the first quarter. Jonathan Collimon, a 6-feet-4-inch junior who is drawing attention from Division 1 college programs, helped spring Orekoya with a powerful block.
Tewksbury coach Brian Aylward felt his team made some “big-time” plays in the game, but he didn’t feel good about the end result.
“We lost to another high school football team and they’re good and they’ve been good over the years,” said Aylward. “I think there were enough mistakes in there that it’s frustrating because I thought our kids did a lot of things to give themselves an opportunity to win. We have a real tough game next week (versus North Andover) and I think this game against a proud program like Everett will prepare us well for the rest of the season.”
John DiBiaso was pleased with his team’s overall performance.
“Tewksbury was a very tough team.” said DiBiaso. “We’re a young team. Our defense played better in the second half and we blocked better in the second half. Lukas Denis really came to play. He made a nice catch on his touchdown. And Jordan [McAfee] is getting better and better. He’s only a young kid and I know the expectations are very high.”
Superintendent of Schools Frederick Foresteire congratulated the team after the game and said he was looking forward to Homecoming Day this Saturday.
“It was a great win for us. To end Tewksbury’s long winning streak speaks a lot for the kids and coaching staff from Everett. It’s a great win and I hope it just now propels us on our way. There will be a huge crowd for Homecoming Day. It’s a whole day of events with the road race and breakfast in the morning and the parade starting at noon with kickoff starting at 2:30.”
Soccer shootout competition scheduled for September 27
The Saugus-Everett Elks will be hosting their annual Soccer Shoot competition on Saturday, Sept. 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Anna Parker Field on Essex Street in Saugus. The competition is open to boys and girls up to age 13. There is no cost to compete and winners may advance to Area, State and Regional competitions with prizes awarded at each level. For more information, contact chairman Steve Doherty @ (617) 956-2560.