By Lorenzo Recupero
The Crimson Tide flexed their collective muscle in dispatching Xaverian High School, 27-21, at Everett Veterans Stadium Friday.
The rebound victory comes after the team’s most lopsided loss in over three decades, a 42-12 thumping at the hands of Central High School to open the season.
How the Crimson Tide responded to the disheartening loss is proof this team, albeit a young one, still possesses a championship mettle that has come to define what it means to wear Everett Crimson.
“It was like night and day,” said Everett coach Theluxon Pierre of his team’s response after losing in a big way in the season-opener to turning things around against longtime rival Xaverian.
Both teams were fighting to stave-off a daunting 0-2 start to the season.
“[This week] we played with more attitude, everyone was in the game,” said Pierre while suggesting that maybe the stunning loss a week ago was the “wake-up” call his team needed to turn fortune in their favor.
“We are a young team and are just trying to make strides every week,” said Pierre.
The glaring turnaround in play started at the top with Everett (1-1) quarterback Duke Doherty.
In the team’s loss, Doherty was forced out of the pocket often, causing three of his passes to be intercepted. Against Xaverian, the fleet-footed QB fled the pocket in a winning way, rushing for over 100 yards, including a 38-yard TD run in the first quarter that set the tone for the rest of the game.
And as predicted by Coach Pierre at the onset of the season, the Tide were propelled by one of their speedy wide receivers, this time Tyrese Baptiste.
“Baptiste was the offensive player of the game,” said Pierre, who noted his wide receiver was the spark the offense needed to get going.
And the explosive junior’s impact on the offense was unquestionable. He finished the game with 143 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns, including a 74-yard punt return in the first half and a 63-yard touchdown scamper in the second half.
The defense played its part in the win as well, slamming the door on a dynamic Xaverian team late in the fourth quarter on junior John Smith-Howell’s interception with the Tide up just one score.
Smith-Howell’s defensive steal kept Xaverian at bay and preserved the win.
“Our defense and offense played well. Our defense especially really played outstanding,” said Pierre while praising his linebackers, including middle linebacker Trey Sejour, who he called the defensive player of the game.
The Tide will try to make it two wins in a row on Friday as they travel to Shrewsbury to take on Saint John’s High School at 4PM.
*Game note: Egan Gouveia, the player carted off the field in the season opener, is “doing fine and maybe a week away from returning to action”, according to Coach Pierre. The junior linebacker sustained a “mild concussion” after colliding with a teammate in last week’s opening kickoff. Gouveia has been attending practices but not participating. He was present on the sideline during Friday’s win and should return to action some point this season.