The Everett High football team ran into a fired-up Methuen team playing in front of its large hometown crowd and fell to the Rangers, 25-22, in a Division 1 first-round game Friday night at Nicholson Stadium.
Methuen (7-2) scored the go-ahead touchdown with 3:50 left in the fourth quarter and then stopped Everett on its final two possessions to forge the upset of the Crimson Tide (7-1), who had rolled through their Greater Boston League schedule after beating a tough Xaverian team in the season opener.
Senior running back JC Clerveaux showed why he is considered one of the best players in the state with two spectacular touchdown runs of 62 and 82 yards.
Everett took a 22-17 lead in the fourth quarter on Cam Mohamed’s 10-yard touchdown run. But the Rangers answered with a 60-yard scoring drive to take a 25-22 lead. Methuen’s defense kept Everett out of the end zone in the final three minutes to earn the right to play No. 1-seed Franklin in the Division 1 quarterfinals.
Everett head coach Rob DiLoreto credited Methuen on its hard-fought victory.
“They played a real hard game, and they were very well-coached and disciplined and they made some big plays when they needed to,” said DiLoreto. “Our kids fought really hard and gave their very best effort and I’m very proud of the effort. Things just didn’t go our away.
“We had some turnovers and some plays that we left on the field that hurt us and I also feel like I made some crucial coaching errors that impacted the game,” DiLoreto added. “So, it was a tough loss.”
Some observers pointed to Everett’s GBL schedule as not being the ideal tune-ups for the stronger competition they would face in the state playoffs. The Tide had six consecutive dominating victories over their GBL opponents leading into the playoffs.
The MIAA’s new playoff rankings system also placed Everett as the No. 9 seed, sending the Tide on the road for their playoff game.
But DiLoreto, a true sportsman who had led Everett to 10 wins in a row to start his head coaching tenure, doesn’t believe those factors weighed into his team’s loss to Methuen.
“I don’t think it was because of the strength of schedule or anything except they [Methuen] earned it, and we congratulate them,” said DiLoreto. “I don’t want to take anything away from Methuen and make any excuses because that’s not what I’m about as a coach. We just have to learn from it and improve. And now we have to regroup and refocus and hopefully finish strong.” Everett will play at Andover Friday night. The Tide