Central Catholic Bounces Everett From the Postseason on a Last-Second Field Goal By Nick Mazzie
Leader Herald Staff Report
The talent and fearlessness of Central Catholic, the discretionary nature of refereeing, and the irrefutable fact that all great things must come to an end all joined forces Friday night inside Veterans Memorial Stadium, where Everett High’s winning streak and title hopes went snap, crackle, and pop.
Tears flowed and heads hung low after a game-ending heave into the end zone by sophomore quarterback Dillon Doherty fell to the turf, lifting Central Catholic (CC) to a 23-20 stunner in the Div. 1 North semifinals. The Crimson Tide, the two-time defending state champs and winners of 27 straight, were held scoreless in the second half and outscored 10-0 in the final quarter, as CC perfected the oft stated but rarely executed game plan of sticking around into the fourth quarter, when the game will be there for the stealing.
As if the result itself wasn’t painful enough, the final margin of victory was provided by Red Raider sophomore kicker Nick Mazzie, the son of Everett Police Chief Steven Mazzie.
Yes, Everett was done in by someone with Crimson in their DNA. Incredible.
And credit Mazzie. He calmly drilled a 33-yard eld goal with 57 seconds showing on the clock. The boot was dead center and had more than enough distance.
The kick completed a quick and painful sequence for Everett in which it committed a costly penalty, allowed a game-tying touchdown, turned the ball over, and surrendered the game- clinching field goal. All in less than four minutes.
EHS was the No. 1 seed in the North, with wins over Xaverian, St. John’s Prep, and Mansfield to its credit. The Tide were poised and good enough to make a serious run at a three-peat. Central was the No. 4 team in the bracket, a team that didn’t look like it was going to be a postseason factor after starting 1-2. But Chuck Adamapoulous’ team won five straight to finish the regular season, crushed Lexington in the quarterfinals, and arrived in Everett knowing, program vs. program, it can compete with the Tide. The Red Raiders upset EHS, 20-15, in the 2013 North Final and easily defeated the Tide again in 2015. Even last year, when Everett cruised to the Div. 1 title, the Tide were pestered and chased in yet another North final game vs. the Red Raiders, an eventual 37-29 Tide triumph. In fact, that was Everett’s lone single-digit victory during its 27- game winning streak.
But when you stop scoring, you stop winning. That, as much as anything, explains how Everett saw its title chase cut short by the Red Raiders. Everett scored on two consecutive plays from scrimmage in the second quarter to take a 20-7 lead. The first was a 66-yard catch-and-run (and fake, and hesitate, and accelerate) by senior Mike Sainristil. The second was a 43-yard strike by Doherty to a streaking Eli Auguste in the
middle of the Red Raiders end zone with 5:16 remaining in the first half.
In control? Not by a mile, as it turned out.
Everett never scored again, and Central gladly took most of the rest of the game to erase the de cit and, eventually, put the game at Mazzie’s right cleat.
The Red Raiders responded to the Doherty-Auguste reworks with a chunk play of its own, a 42- yard option keeper by quarterback Jared Silverio in which he was seemingly 15 yards up eld before the Tide defenders realized he had the ball. Silverio capped the drive with a 2-yard plunge, brining the halftime score to 20-14 (EHS missed its second PAT).
Everett’s defense, which was good enough to win on most nights, against most opponents, made two defensive stops in the third quarter as the action started to slow down. Usually, at moments like these, the Tide offense will easily and gladly take advantage of the chance to score insurance points. This wasn’t a typical night, though.
With 4:47 left in the third, the Crimson Tide embarked on a 15- play drive that included a 63-yard touchdown run by Isaac Seide that was wiped out by a holding penalty that had EHS partisans howling with frustration. A 21- yard reception by Sainristil and a one-yard keeper by Doherty on a fourth-and-1 play from the Central 41-yard line revived the possession, but not for long. On fourth-and-five from the Central 24, Red Raider senior Cameron Boes leapt into the air to bat down a Doherty pass attempt. Tide fans couldn’t know it at the time, but that marked the beginning of the end.
Central took over with 8:13 to go and marched 76 yards in 14 plays, including a one-yard run by Silverio that converted a fourth-down near midfield — one in which the EHS sideline would have liked a measurement. Instead, the referee signaled first down and the drive forged ahead.
It got even more frustrating for the home team. Facing a second- and-goal from its own 7, Everett made the kind of defensive play that wins championships — a 16-yard sack by linebacker Trey Sejour. Silverio picked up only one yard on the third down, and Central, for a brief moment, seemed to be staring at a fourth- and-goal from the 22 at the 3:30 mark of the fourth quarter. But a personal foul call on the Tide gave the visitors a fresh set of downs that they happily cashed in, courtesy of a 12-yard touchdown reception by Anthony Caggianelli.
The back-and-forth continued, as EHS senior lineman Wilson Frederic made an athletic play, shooting into the back eld and blocking Mazzie’s PAT attempt, deadlocking the score at 20. But the positive momentum remained with the Tide for only a matter of seconds. EHS took over at its own 21 with 2:26 to go, but a deep throw down the left side of the eld on rst down was easily intercepted by Mike LeFebre, who returned the ball to the Everett 45.
Silverio, who finished with 110 passing yards and 84 more on the ground, quickly got Central into field goal range by scampering 21 yards on another cleverly deceptive option keeper. The Central coaching staff clearly knew Mazzie could win it from there, because they called three conservative rushing plays that pushed the ball to the Everett 16, and set up the winning kick.
EHS got the ball back with 57 ticks left. There was a momentary jolt of excitement when Sainristil made a deft catch along the CC sideline for a 23-yard pick-up at mid eld. But the Tide were out of timeouts and the nal play of the game didn’t provide that once-in- a-lifetime play that turns a sure loss into a win.
On this night, the great memories belonged to Central Catholic, the Mazzie family, and their large and vocal band of traveling fans.
The Crimson Tide travel to Acton-Boxboro Friday night (7 p.m.) as part of the weekend’s non-playoff action. Acton- Boxboro was the No. 3 seed in Div. 1 North. The Colonels were eliminated last Friday by St. John’s Prep. Everett will also be in action on Thanksgiving morning at Masconomet.