When the Everett High School football team scored 20 unanswered points in the first half of its Division 1 North
semifinal against Central Catholic, most Crimson Tide fans likely thought their team was heading to another post-season victory and a step closer to the Super Bowl.
But Central Catholic scored touchdowns late in the first half and late in the fourth quarter and kept Everett off the scoreboard for the entire second half on its way to a stunning 23-20 upset Friday night at Everett Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Sophomore placekicker Nick Mazzie, son of Everett Police Chief Steven Mazzie, kicked a clutch, 34-yard field goal with 57 seconds remaining to produce the winning points.
Everett advanced in to Central territory on its final possession when Mike Sainristil caught a 23-yard pass from quarterback Duke Doherty. But Doherty’s long pass toward an Everett receiver at the 4-yard line on the final play of the game just missed connection.
It was a tough exit to the playoffs for first-year head coach Theluxon Pierre and his team, who had a perfect 8-0 record and had held the No. 1 ranking in Massachusetts all season. In the first round of the playoffs, the Tide had routed Andover, who plays in the same conference as Central Catholic.
Central quarterback Jared Silverio put Central on the scoreboard first with a 4-yard run. Mazzie’s PAT gave Central a 7-0 lead.
Everett’s offense soon began to heat up, with Isaac Seide rushing for an 11-yard touchdown and Doherty connecting for touchdown passes to Mike Sainristil (66 yards) and Eli Auguste (43 yards) to give the Tide a 20-14 lead.
But the Red Raiders would respond with a momentum-changing touchdown late in the second quarter and then did something in the second half that no other team had been able to do all season: contain the Tide’s high-scoring offense.
Central tied the game at 20-20 in the fourth quarter on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Silverio to A.J. Cagianelli. On the ensuing Everett possession, Central captain Micheal LeFebre intercepted a pass and returned it 20 yards to the Everett 45-yard line. Silverio’s 21-yard-run and three additional running plays set the Raiders up for the go-ahead field goal attempt
Mazzie booted the ball through the middle of the uprights, giving the Raiders a 23-20 lead that they would preserve for a dramatic victory.
Central Catholic coach Chuck Adamopoulos was asked about his team’s sensational defensive effort that held Everett scoreless in the second half.
“We gave a couple of big plays up in the first half, but we thought if we could not give up the big plays, we’d be alright and the kids came up big in the second half,” said Adamopoulos. “We played pretty good defense all year. I’m just proud of these guys. They’ve come a long way from the beginning of the year. It’s just a great win.”
Adamopoulos said in the lead-up to the game, he showed his team game films from the Central-Everett matchups in 2013 and 2015.
“We played a lot of highlights from 2013 and 2015 when we beat Everett, just to show them that when we come down here, we expect to win,” said Adamopoulos. “I think when you plays teams like this – and I have the utmost experience for Everett, they have a great tradition here – you have to go in thinking you can win and if you don’t go in thinking you can win, you have no shot.”
Central (7-2) moves on to play St. John’s Prep (8-1) in the Division 1 North final. Everett (8-1) will play Acton-Boxboro (8-1) in a non-playoff matchup.