By Cary Shuman
Junior linebacker Duane Binns and senior lineman and captain Duval Paul led a superb defensive effort by the Everett High football team that held Xaverian scoreless for three quarters on the way to the Tide’s 21-7 victory.
Xaverian came in to the game with a reputation for a vaunted defense, but it was Binns, Paul, and company who helped Everett shut down the Hawks and lock up the Tide’s eleventh Super Bowl title.
Head coach John DiBiaso saw the emergence of Binns in the postseason.
“Duane Binns transformed himself during the playoffs in to one of the top players in the state,” said head coach John DiBiaso.
For Paul, the effort against Xaverian culminated a great career, cementing his credentials as a Boston Globe and Boston Herald All-Scholastic football player.
“Duval Paul had a tremendous season,” summed up coach DiBiaso.
Binns excelled at linebacker playing alongside RJ Fialli and Ducarmel Cine. Paul was a force in the defensive front, helping to contain the Hawks’ top running back, Devin Piccinin.
Binns truly saved his best for last, finishing with 12 tackles and two sacks in the Super Bowl. Perhaps it was fitting that the 5-foot-11, 190-pound junior sealed the victory by recovering an onside kick late in the fourth quarter.
Paul said the feeling of winning a state championship was “surreal.”
“It feels like I can’t believe that happened,” said Paul. “It’s a great feeling and we’re getting congratulations from everyone. It’s a great feeling. It’s amazing.”
Paul was a part of three starting defensive units during his career.
“I love tackling people and being on the defensive line and going up against the offensive line and competing,” said Paul.
When did Duval Paul think Everett could be champion?
“Once we all came together and put in the work ethic, I knew this year would be a really successful year,” said Paul. “I wasn’t concerned after the Billerica game and we were 2-2. We weren’t playing our best and we weren’t as focused as we knew we could be.”
Paul, who is 6-foot-2 and weights 255 pounds, said he didn’t take up football until his freshman year. “So I’m really not too experienced with football. I started playing my freshman year, so I’m Everett-made, you can say.”
He echoes the thoughts of his teammates when he calls his coach, John DiBiaso, the best in the Bay State.
“ Coach DiBiaso is the best coach, hands-down in the state,” said Paul. “He’s a really nice guy and he works so hard for us. He goes out of his way for us on and off the field. He does everything he can to help us out, not just in football, but to shape us as players not only here but as players on the next level.”