D1 Final: Xaverian 38, Everett 29

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Officially, it was billed as the MIAA Division 1 Super Bowl.

Unofficially, it was the “Noah Sorrento Show.”

Sorrento, Xaverian’s senior running back, delivered a career performance Saturday as the Hawks beat Everett, 38-29, for the Hawks’ 11th Super Bowl championship since 1997. “All” Sorrento did was gain 187 yards and score four touchdowns on 25 carries as Xaverian completed an undefeated season.

“I don’t know that (Sorrento) has had a better game than that,” said Xaverian coach Charlie Stevenson. “He certainly made big plays at big times as he’s has all year. But in this situation, for a guy to play like that and make those plays when he had to was pretty huge.

“It was one of the best tailback efforts we’ve had in a Super Bowl. I can tell you that.”

Sorrento, for his part, had a rather modest explanation for his performance.

“I just kept getting the ball and the line was doing an unbelievable job,” he said. “I was looking for the holes and I was making sure I stayed in bounds to run out the clock.

“I tried to play my last game as hard as I could for my team because these are my brothers.”

Perhaps the one play that exemplified why Sorrento was so successful came late in the second quarter with the score tied 14-14.

Xaverian had a first down on Everett’s 24 when Sorrento broke to his left, made a sharp cut to his right and dashed 24 yards for a score that gave Xaverian a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

All the moves: “Everett has a lot of big guys out there,” said Sorrento. “Sometimes I tried to mix in a little power. But Everett’s a big team so today I tried to be a little shifty because I knew I wasn’t going to run over guys.

“It just worked out for us.”

Sorrento again displayed his ability “to be a little shifty” after Coby Tippett returned a punt 36 yards to Everett’s 26.

On the next play, Sorrento broke through the middle, cut to his right and sprinted 26 yards for a score that gave Xaverian a 28-14 lead.

After Everett went three-and-out, Xaverian closed out the half when Joe Gaziano kicked a 30-yard field goal.

Everett did mount a rally after Granhdi Denis recovered a Sorrento fumble (his lone hiccup of the game) which set up a 21-yard touchdown pass from Jordan McAfee to Lukas Denis.

Next it was Everett’s turn to hold Xaverian to three and out which set the stage for a four-yard touchdown run by Nick Orekoya who also ran for a two-point conversion that pulled the Crimson Tide within 31-29. But Sorrento, in a surprising display of power running, broke three tackles en route to a 22-yard touchdown run with 11 seconds left in the third quarter.

“We clearly wanted to go back and do what got us there in there in the first half which was run the football,” said Stevenson. “Noah made some great runs. Our line picked it up a little bit. And we had a great drive to end the third quarter to go up 38-29.

“We gave them a big kick return and then Colby made a big pick on the two-yard line. We had two or three really big first downs to take four or five minutes off the clock. And then ‘Gaz’ had a great punt. That was really all she wrote.”

Last gasp: The sequence Stevenson referred to commenced on the last play of the third when Orekoya returned a kickoff 69 yards to Xaverian's 23 – with Mattison Cronin making a touchdown-saving tackle.

Tippett then snared a McAfee pass at the 2 and Xavier took precious minutes off the clock on a first-down run by Sorrento and a six-yard pass from Farrell to Tippett.

Gaziano’s 39-yard punt pinned Everett on its 28 and the Crimson Tide stalled before they could reach midfield.

Everett stunned Xaverian on the game’s first possession when McAfee tossed a short pass to Orekoya who turned it into a 60-yard touchdown pass.

The Hawks tied it after the ensuing punt when Farrell threw a 36-yard scoring pass to Kenny Kern.

The Crimson Tide then took what proved to be their last lead of the game when Lukas Denis intercepted a Farrell pass and returned it 29 yards for a score.

After the final buzzer sounded, Stevenson had a 4-0 Super Bowl record against his Everett counterpart, John DiBiaso as well as his second victory this season over the Crimson Tide.

“It’s just a great rivalry,” Stevenson said while trying to explain Xaverian’s success against Everett. “They’re a great team. John’s a great coach. Both of our teams get really fired up to play each other.

“I think we’re 8-8 right now in the series (i.e. Everett leads the overall series, 8-7). I think that says a lot about our program. Back in the ‘90s we would measure ourselves against Brockton. We thought we got there. Now, we have to measure ourselves against Everett and, hopefully, this is a step toward being where they are.”

XA (12-0) 7-24-7-0 - 38

EV (10-2) 14-0-15-0 - 29

First quarter

EV – Nick Orekoya 60 pass from Jordan McAfee (Omar Herrera kick)

XA – Ken Kern 36 pass from Jake Farrell (Joe Gaziano kick)

EV – Lukas Denis 29 interception return (Herrera kick)

Second quarter

XA – Noah Sorrento 13 run (Gaziano kick)

XA – Sorrento 24 run (Gaziano kick)

XA – Sorrento 26 run (Gaziano kick)

XA – Gaziano 30 field goal)

Third quarter

EV – Denis 21 pass from McAfee (Herrera kick)

EV – Orekoya 4 run (Orekoya run)

XA – Sorrento 22 run (Gaziano kick)