WALTHAM, Mass. -- You hear all the time about how important the high school football team is to the city of Everett, but you can't truly appreciate it until you see what the Crimson Tide players look like following a Super victory.
The rivers of tears streaking down their faces. The emotional hugs and hearty backslaps shared between teammates, friends and brothers. The coaches seeking out players to share in those moments amidst the throng of supporters from the city that have come to take part in celebrating with their players.
Football is Everett. Everett is football.
"It's a culmination of 17 years for me and Jonathan and four years for these seniors and, it might sound corny, but a lot of our kids don't have much," said Crimson Tide coach John DiBiaso, choking back tears and shivering from the cold after being soaked with the postgame Gatorade dump. "What they have here means something special to them. No disrespect to the other team but a lot of our kids don't have much, and the school and this team are their lives. I’m very happy for them."
They may not have much, but they do have a second straight Super Bowl championship. One that they earned against a Lincoln-Sudbury team who were expected to be mere cannon fodder but turned out to be one of the toughest opponents Everett faced all season long. L-S punched at Everett like few teams have this season. But the Tide stood tall, exactly like champions are supposed to do.
When the Warriors threw a punch, Everett took it and threw counter punches. Tom Lopez's L-S squad trailed at the half, 21-6, but kept the highest scoring team in Massachusetts off the scoreboard for the entire third quarter. In the process, they closed out the frame with a nine-play, 64-yard drive that ended with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Matt Cahill to Jack Harris to get to within a single score.
Then, Everett came right back three plays later and watched as Jakarrie Washington took a jet sweep around the right end and slipped down the sideline on great blocks by receivers Jaylen McRae and Jalen Felix. Then, Washington pulled the move of the night, hesitating for a split second for a stutter step in mid-sprint to throw his pursuer off stride, then easily ran the rest of the way for a game-changing 63-yard score.
"I always wanted to play for Everett High and ever since I got here," Washington said. "I did whatever I had to do to start and play. I love this man Jonathan, he’s the best quarterback in the state right now and he should be doing better things in college. I have one of the best coaches in Massachusetts. We live in Everett, its mostly a football city, so we just stay lifting and getting ready for every season. We just try to perfect whatever we do."
From the moment Washington crossed the goal line, everything changed in what was a highly competitive battle. Everett forced L-S to punt, a favor which the Warriors returned. However, the Tide forced a fumble which Vondell Langston recovered at the 20. Three plays later, DiBiaso had his second scoring run of the game.
L-S got one more chance with 3:30 to go, but Washington intercepted Cahill on their third play to lock up Everett's ninth Super Bowl title under Coach DiBiaso.
"Its indescribable, its an amazing feeling," Langston said. "It means a lot to me because there’s millions and millions of other people out there and how many of them can say they’ve been to two Super Bowls in a row and won both of them. We’ve been to three and won two. Not many people can say that."
The most emotional person in sight was Jonathan DiBiaso. The state's single season (44) and career (103) leader for touchdown passes in Massachusetts. His 108 passing yards last night gives him 7,052 for his prolific career. Not to mention his second Super Bowl championship, earned once again with his father guiding him along the way.
"This is great. I’ve been here my whole life," DiBiaso said while losing the battle with streaming tears and a choked up throat. "I love Everett, I love my teammates, I love my coaches, I love everything about Everett and to go out a champion means everything to me.”