By Matt Nuzzo
The Somerville Highlanders visited the Everett Crimson Tide on Saturday with hopes of using their high powered offense to upset the heavily favored Crimson. Flash forward only six minutes into the game and the Tide had built a 36-0 lead, which all but extinguished any thoughts of an upset. The Everett High coaching staff once again had the kids ready to play right out of the gate on a brisk afternoon at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The dynamic duo of Jalen Felix and Jakarrie Washington dominated the first quarter, each scoring a pair of touchdowns, while senior wide receiver Brenden LaRosa added a touchdown reception from steadily improving quarterback Raheem Wingard. Felix took a short screen pass only nineteen seconds into the game and slashed his way all the way across the field and outran the speedy Somerville defense on route to a beautiful touchdown pass from forty-eight yards away. Senior defensive back Matt Pothier made his presence felt on Somerville’s very first possession, recording a sack on the first play and a forced fumble on the second, recovered by teammate Gilly DeSouza. LaRosa wasted no time and on the Tide’s very next play hauled in a well thrown slant from Wingard from seven yards out to put the Tide up 14-0. On Somerville’s next possession it looked as if they would get things going as they picked up a quick eight yards on first down but the Tide defense stiffened on second and third down forcing a punt. Felix then took a beautifully executed counter to the house from fifty-five yards out, and after Gilly DeSouza tacked on the extra point the Tide were up a commanding 21-0. On Somerville’s very next play the opportunistic and versatile Jakarrie Washington stripped the Somerville running back and jaunted into the end zone. The snap was botched on the extra point attempt but Wingard used his feet to get to the corner and add a two point conversion making the score 29-0 only three minutes into the game. Somerville went three and out quickly despite just missing connecting on a couple long completions. The Highlander were forced to resort to their passing attack being down by such a substantial amount so early in the game. Everett once again wasted no time moving the ball methodically down field capped off on a twenty yard touchdown pass from Wingard to Washington. The touchdown ended a very impressive first quarter and opened the gates for coach DiBiaso to rest the starters and get some younger players an opportunity. DiBiaso stressed the importance of staying healthy, “The most important things for us are executing and staying healthy because the end of the season can be extremely grueling on the body heading into the playoffs especially with the schedule we have played this year.”
The second quarter was more of the same for the Tide with a couple different faces. Milo’s “hogs” stayed in through the first half and dominated the game of play. The group includes the highly touted John Montelus, Marc Fils-Aime, Branden Toussaint, Pat Sullivan, Rearden Sweeney, Michael Ottersburg, and a couple more interchangeable linemen on this monstrous Crimson Tide line. They play so well as a group it is tough to tell them apart but it goes without saying that the Tide will go only as far as this group will take them. Seniors Joey Owour and Nick Jean-Baptiste added well-deserved touchdowns of their own in the second quarter which capped the scoring for the half as the Tide headed into the locker room up 49-0. With the starting unit on the bench, the Tide surrendered two second half touchdowns to Somerville’s speedy junior running back Anderson Jupiter who scored on runs of twenty-six and eighteen yards.
The final score was Everett 49 and Somerville 13. It was evident from very early on that the Highlanders were just not on the same level as the Tide, however the Somerville squad played hard the entire game and showed some good talent for the future. The Tide will turn their sights to the Malden High Golden Tornadoes this Friday night at 7 pm in Everett. The Crimson Tide will look to wrap up its 19th consecutive Greater Boston League title and its unprecedented eleventh straight year making the playoffs. DiBiaso knows Malden always comes to play and is preparing with a good week of practice. Bundle up and come watch the Tide’s seniors play their last home game on the sacred gridiron that is Everett Veterans’ Memorial Stadium. It plans to be a special night for many seniors who have dedicated an incredible amount of time and hard work to the program, and that time and hard work are a direct reason why the Tide have been able to sustain success for such a long period of time. Roll Tide!