DANVERS -- This isn't the Everett of old.
No, that much was evident when the punt team jogged onto the field with the Crimson Tide facing 4th and 6 from the St. John's Prep 37 on their opening series of Saturday's 17-7 triumph at Cronin Stadium.
Everett? Punt team? This from a squad that never met a 4th and 6 it didn't like this decade, regardless of what side of the field it was on. The big joke in recent years was that the Tide always got four downs when most teams erred on the side of caution after three.
And it happened again in the second quarter. The Tide got a new set of downs at the Prep 6 with little more than six minutes to go in the half, but the drive stalled in the red area and Everett settled for a 20-yard field goal from freshman Gilly DeSouza.
To be fair, the way the defense was boxing in the host Eagles, it seemed like any sort of two-score game was going to ensure Everett emerged with a W. And that's all the 2009 version of the Tide want right now: the victory.
A win is a win is a win for a team that has done nothing but win.
To be sure, Everett is young. Further depleted by injuries, coach John DiBiaso counted six sophomores on his defense at one point Saturday. He's got another sophomore at the helm of his offense, even if it's his son, Jonathan, who plays beyond his years at quarterback.
Coach DiBiaso admitted the Tide were playing without the bull's-eye on their back for the first time in ages after last week's shellacking at the hands of Dracut. The Tide are ranked 11th in this week's Globe Top 20, seemingly their lowest spot since we invented the rankings.
Everett is sure to have its hands full the next two weeks against Catholic Conference powers BC High and Xaverian, but that should only toughen the Tide up for Greater Boston League play. And you have to figure these sophomores won't look like sophomores by November.
Jonathan DiBiaso smiled as he recounted a difficult week of practice after the Dracut loss. Clearly losing won't be tolerated in Everett.
Saturday's win was the first step in the maturation of a young squad. Think anyone wants to see them in late November or early December?
By then, the punt team might not be running on the field on 4th and 6.
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Emily McCarthy | @EmilyMcCahthy | BPS correspondent
- Jake Fischer | @GlobeFischer | Boys basketball
- Michelle Fenelon | @michfenelon | Girls basketball
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Boys hockey
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls hockey
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail email@example.com.