EVERETT, Mass. -- St. John's Prep gave Everett an early scare, orchestrating a 79-yard drive toward the end of the first half, but junior middle linebacker Chris McCarthy led the Crimson Tide defense on a goal line stop that stifled St. John's momentum and held them scoreless until under two minutes left in the game, allowing Everett to coast for a 27-7 victory.
"I thought [the goal line stance] was big," Everett head coach John DiBiaso said. "They had all the momentum. They had stopped us; they drove the ball the length of the field."
Solid running by senior running back Tyler Coppola and quarterback Tommy Gaudet, and a 19-yard hookup from Gaudet to Chris Ryan, brought the Eagles (2-1) into the Everett red zone late in the second quarter. But the defense of the Crimson Tide (2-0) denied them repeatedly at the three yard line, sending the Crimson into the half up by one touchdown and having taken some air out of the Eagles' squad.
"To drive the ball the length of the field, to eat up time like that and to come away with nothing was a little bit of a back breaker for them, gave us a little momentum going into the half," DiBiaso said.
Everett, well known for its high-powered passing game, had to adjust early to a run-heavy game as a result of St. John’s defensive set designed to take away the pass. That, coupled with the two hurried passes by junior Jonathan DiBiaso on Everett’s first drive, threw off Everett's rhythm.
Late in the first, Everett drove 70 yards, and Manny Asprilla (24 rushing yards, TD; four catches, 100 yards, two TDs) punched it on a 3-yard draw, an Everett favorite, but the extra point field goal block by St. John’s Cody Rothwell gave the Eagles enough energy to hold onto the ball for almost the rest of the half, but McCarthy and company would not falter under pressure, especially on Homecoming day with all of Everett faithful pulling for a 2-0 start.
"Our goal line defense is tremendous," said Jonathan DiBiaso (144 passing yards, two touchdowns). "Our linemen are big, strong dudes. They hold the runners and our linebackers come up and make the plays."
Starting the second half, the teams traded drives. A 64-yard punt return by Everett’s Ra’ees Wingard got them into the end zone, but an illegal block brought the ball back to the St. John's 31 yard line. A run by Asprilla, one by DiBiaso and a pair by Vondell Langston set up a 17-yard touchdown pass from DiBiaso to Asprilla, who caught the ball between two defenders. Senior Matt Costello caught a pass from DiBiaso for the conversion, giving Everett a 14-0 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, SJP's Coppola returned the ball for 19 yards, but a fumbled snap picked up by Everett’s Paul Marckini gave the Crimson Tide the ball back on St. John’s 25. They scored again, after less than 30 seconds had gone off the clock.
"Turnovers are big, especially in high school football," said coach DiBiaso.
Two runs by Jonathan DiBiaso for a 17-yard gain gave the defense reason to key on him. That set up a draw, sidestep and extra effort at the goal line by Langston that gave Everett another score at 10:15 in the fourth quarter, putting the game well out of reach for the Eagles. The 56-yard pass from DiBiaso to Asprilla at 6:40 was an insurance run, as St. John’s did not score until the second defense for Everett was in at 1:14.
"When it's first and goal on the four, and you don't get it in, that's always an issue," reflected St. John’s coach Jim O"Leary. "That was a turning point for us. We're not going to throw the ball a lot. We're a ball control team, so when it gets to be like that, it's difficult to come back."
Veterans Memorial Stadium Re-Dedicated
Yesterday’s game marked the rededication of Veteran’s Memorial Stadium in Everett. War veterans, people who lost family members in the September 11th attacks and local politicians were touted yesterday before the game for their sacrifice and hard work.
"In these tough days and times, when people are down on their luck, to be able to dedicate a field for their kids and all of our kids in the city to have a safe place to play a sport on, it feels great," said Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria Jr. "To have done it with the help of Governor Deval Patrick’s office, having used all sales surplus money, so it didn’t impact the taxpayers at all, it was my honor to work with so many great individuals to get this done."
Congressman Edward Markey spoke of the field as a place that harnesses the best of brightest of Everett.
"Everett has the greatest football tradition of any city in New England. Today, they have just rededicated the field, for the next century that will continue to produce not only the best football players, but the best young men that the country can produce."
Mr. John Rombolli, whose grandson makes the fifth generation of his family to play on this field, is glad to have seen the development of the field.
"Living basically across from the stadium (he lives directly behind the home stands) and watching it when it could hold 18,000, 19,000 and then fall apart, it was a great pleasure to see the field being rededicated. Having my father, myself, my grandson and all of his brothers play here, it’s amazing how much it has progressed."
Mr. Rombolli, also an assistant coach with the Crimson Tide, was very thankful for the elected officials who’ve supported the project.
"The field is perfect, being dedicated to all those who have passed, having all the politicians back the field is great. They're supporting the city, they’re supporting the football players, supporting the team, just trying to keep Everett doing well. You need a field like this if you’re going to compete. You have to have the facilities and the (FieldTurf) these days."
Coach John DiBiaso was most thankful to the veterans for whom the field is dedicated to and how fortunate the town is to have the field, considering others in the area.
"It's very important for the veterans, because it represents the people who give their time, and some of them their lives, for our freedom and that we can have the way of life that we have, so that was very important… We don’t have many parks in Everett and the fields are older, and they’re dirt, to have this so that our soccer team can play here, our girls soccer team an play here, all the Pop Warner's can play here because it's just a beautiful facility. I can’t thank the people involved enough."
No. 3 Everett 27, No. 15 St. John's Prep 7
SJP (2-1) 0 0 0 7 --- 7
EHS (2-0) 6 0 8 13 --- 27
E – Manny Asprilla 3 run (kick blocked) 1:35
E – Asprilla 17 pass from Jonathan DiBiaso (Matt Costello pass from DiBiaso) 0:0
E – Vondell Langston 8 run (kick blocked) 10:15
E – Asprilla 56 pass from DiBiaso (Gilly DeSouza kick) 6:40
SJ – Alex Moore 1 run (Connor Shaw kick) 1:14