EVERETT -- With its victory over St. John’s Prep on Saturday afternoon, Everett extended its winning streak to 28 games. This week, the Tide (3-0) faces Barnstable (3-0), which beat Sandwich Friday night, 35-14.
The Red Raiders' win, coupled with the Prep’s loss at Everett, moves Barnstable to No. 2 in the state and sets up a 1 vs. 2 matchup for the second straight week.
“We got a big challenge this week,” coach John DiBiaso said. “A very good offense, a lot different, they throw the ball around, they spread it out. It’s gonna be a big challenge. This is their big 1-2 matchup. We can’t think we’ve already had ours. We’ve got to come ready to play and be serious from the beginning.”
Led by senior quarterback Nick Peabody, Barnstable has scored 55, 55, and 35 points in its first three games.
“We’ve got to play good defense,” DiBiaso said. “We can’t give up the big play because they’re a big-play team. They've got a couple real good receivers. (Peabody) is gonna be a challenge.
“He brings something different to the table. He’s more like the Springfield kid (Cody Williams), where he can throw the ball.”
The Tide was shorthanded for Tuesday’s practice, after a JV game on Monday night.
“(We got) a couple guys banged up,” DiBiaso said. “We had a JV game last night, so we gave some of them a day off.”
The Crimson Tide held St. John’s Prep to less than 50 yards of offense in the second half Saturday, and a big reason for the great effort was senior defensive end Omar Graciano.
Early in the fourth quarter, with Everett ahead, 12-7, the Prep intercepted Tide quarterback Gilly DeSouza and returned the ball to the Everett 25. But the Prep struggled to capitalize, and on fourth down Graciano got to quarterback Jack Sharrio and brought him down for a sack, forcing the Eagles to turn the ball over on downs.
“I mean, it was a great play,” Graciano said. “We were sending pressure from the outside and our outside linebacker got blocked and I was untouched and went in there and saw an opportunity. When you see the quarterback’s backside, your eyes get big and you gotta make the play.”
Graciano said the Tide made some tweaks at halftime that limited Sharrio in the second half.
“We made adjustments in the second half,” he said. “(Coach DiBiaso) told me to spy him on the option and I just went in there, did my job, made a couple big plays down the stretch, and came up with the win.
“Originally, (the game plan was) stop the run,” he said. “And then he was beating us outside on the option a lot so coach moved me over. He switched me and Jeff (Soluque) over to different sides. I usually play weak side, he plays strong side. He put me on the quarterback.”
This week against Barnstable, Graciano said he hopes to pick up where he left off against the Prep.
“They pass a lot," he said. "(I want) to get sack after sack, hopefully.”
DeSouza is the Crimson Tide’s residence renaissance man. He does it all: quarterback, kicker, punter, and safety.
Is it ever hard to focus on all of those positions?
“That’s just trying to stay focused during practice,” DeSouza said. “My coaches help me out a lot during practice. The players help me out, just staying focused. I try to keep my composure and just execute everything we have to do, one thing at a time. Whether I’m playing quarterback, kicking, or safety.”
The senior also said that while it is difficult to stay fresh at every spot, he will do whatever the team needs.
“At the end of the day, you just gotta suck it up for your team and play," he said. "So even if you get an interception runback, you just have to concentrate on the kick; points are important at the end of the game.”
DeSouza reiterated that he and his teammates need to step it up on defense once again on Friday.
“This week, our defense has to be on,” he said. “(Barnstable) throws a lot, (Peabody) threw over 50 passes last game. I know our D-ends, Omar, Jeff, the D-line, our linebackers, will be all set. We’ve got a lot of experience back there. I’m confident.”
Over the past two weeks, the Patriots have lost on a last-second field goal. At the end of the game against Arizona in Week 2, Stephen Gostkowski missed a potential game-winning field goal, and Sunday night the Ravens’ Justin Tucker squeezed one just inside the right upright to lead his team past New England.
Who better to ask about kicking last-second field goals than DeSouza.
“You never know (what’s going to happen),” he said. “One little thing, (Gostkowski) picking up his head a little too quick, or his plant foot is wrong, and you can just completely miss the kick.
“But he’s a good kicker, he’ll be all set if it comes down to it again.”
DeSouza didn’t see the kick that ended Sunday night’s game because he was busy watching soccer, “I didn’t watch (the game), Sunday is Brazilian day, I watch all my soccer on Sunday.”
He did, however, say he has experience in last-second situations; one in Pop Warner and one his freshman year against Malden to send the game to overtime. DeSouza said that there is no difference between the mentality of a regular kick and one at the end of a game.
“You look at it like every other kick," he said. "Take your steps, keep your head down and your hips and you should just get it right through the upright.”
The Tide also chimed in on the biggest story in football right now: NFL replacement officials.
“I saw the Patriots game and the Seahawks game (Monday night),” Graciano said. “(The officiating) wasn’t up to par, I would say. Really poor. I could have made calls like that.”
DeSouza said he was shocked when he saw the highlights of the Seahawks-Packers final play Monday night.
“Everyone’s thinking it’s a joke,” he said. “I don’t even know what to say anymore. That play was a joke. My mouth dropped.”
Every week we’ll have a captain or senior make a prediction for the upcoming Patriots game.
THIS WEEK’S PICK - PATRIOTS at BILLS
Sr. Gilly DeSouza, QB/K/DB: “(Patriots) are gonna come back fierce, especially the offense, they should be all set, easy win this week, 24-13.”
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