EVERETT -- Besides some leftover rain showers and a couple of blown down banners, you would have never known a hurricane blew through Everett Memorial Stadium on Monday. A day later, it was business as usual for second-ranked Crimson Tide (7-1, 2-0 in the GBL), who were preparing for a matchup against Somerville (0-7, 0-1).
The game was supposed to be played Friday night, but will now be played Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. to give both squads an extra day of preparation. Both Everett and Somerville Public Schools had Monday and Tuesday off because of Hurricane Sandy.
"I was just chilling, watching TV [during the storm]," said offensive lineman John Montelus. "I stayed inside, just laid back, got to recover from a couple injuries."
Tuesday afternoon, the Tide was back from their surprise day off, and was looking forward to shoring up some things for the stretch run.
"We don't want to downgrade," said senior Gilly DeSouza. "We [want to] just keep improving instead of going back downhill, and make sure everyone stays healthy. All we're looking for is to get to Gillette and get that third ring."
DeSouza said the Tide has to be ready for the Highlanders who "like to throw the ball" with quarterback Phoenix Huertas. His coach agreed.
"[Huertas] is a lot like the kid from Cambridge [David Maaghul]," said coach John DiBiaso. "He can throw the ball, but he's more of a runner, so he presents some threats. We have to control the ball and keep it out of his hands and put some pressure on him, create some turnovers. They've been scoring a lot of points, so their offense does present a challenge."
DiBiaso said he's excited for the last two games, knowing that if his team can win both contests against Somerville and Malden, they'll be headed back to the playoffs.
"This is the fun time of year," he said. "We're playing league games against opponents that are the towns next to us, that are natural rivalries. Everybody knows each other, generally we get big crowds for these games. We got two home games, we've been on the road for four weeks.
"Hopefully we take care of business these two games and then we got the playoffs. It's a great time of year for high school football."
With only two games to go, that means that for the seniors, their time on the high school football field is dwindling.
"I'm feeling it," said running back Joey White. "It's coming to an end too quick. It's almost over."
Montelus agreed: "I remember two years ago, my sophomore year, I just started playing and I was like, this is gonna be really long until senior year, but it just flew by.
"Itís gonna be really tough after playing Malden, just knowing that it's our last home game. I'm gonna get kinda emotional, but that's life."
DeSouza also talked about the final two games having special meaning, knowing it will be the last time he plays on his home field.
"Once we get to Malden [next week], it's definitely gonna hit me," he said. "That's the last time we're ever gonna play at Everett Stadium. We played here since we were with E-team in Pop Warner.
"The other day, my mom was talking about it, she was like, 'these are the last games you are playing with some of your childhood friends that you grew up with.'"
There are many perks of being a senior in high school, however, especially on Halloween. Everett High will be holding its annual Senior Dress Up Day on Wednesday and De Souza is ready.
"Of course," said De Souza on whether he's dressing up. "I'm gonna be a grandma, should be a good one."
His fellow seniors, White and Montelus, won't be taking part in the fun, though, saying they were not going to dress up. Montelus did say some of his lineman friends had some big costume plans, but could not divulge what they were.
Last Friday at Assabet Regional, principals and athletic directors from 292 schools from around the state voted, 161-131, in favor of a new football playoff system.
The state will now have six state champions, one in each division, instead of the 19 it has now. A five-team league like the GBL will have two playoff representatives when the new format kicks in next year.
"How much it really affects Everett I'm not sure of," said DiBiaso. "If they didn't pass it, we would have dealt with it. They did pass it, so we'll deal with it this way. It's gonna be a whole new thing next year."
Last week, before the vote, DiBiaso was concerned about how the league would determine its two playoff participants. It is possible that a power ratings system could be used, in which teams would get points for victories. The better the opponent, the more points a team would receive. DiBiaso believes the league should just use a traditional format, where the two teams with the best records make it.
"We're having a [GBL] meeting Thursday," he said. "I think the league champion should go and the league's second place team should go. That's the fairest way. It's decided on the field. Will it go through? I hope."
The nine-time Super Bowl champion coach is not happy about the timing of the vote, which he believes has become a major distraction.
"Honestly, I don't wanna look forward to next year," he said. "If we start looking forward to next year and thinking about next year, then you lose focus and you end up losing the game.
"It's bad timing. It's a distraction now, it's a key time of year where you try to keep everybody focused, everybody on the same page. I'm the basketball coach too, I don't wanna talk about basketball now. People ask me questions about things, I say no not yet, we gotta focus on what we gotta do [with football]."
Every week we'll have a captain or senior make a Patriots prediction for the upcoming game.
THIS WEEK'S PICK -- The Patriots are off, so there is no pick.
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 fall correspondents:
- Anthony Gulizia | @gulizia_a | Div. 1 football
- Eric Russo | @erusso22 | Div. 2 football
- Stephen Sellner | @stephen_sellner | Div. 3 football
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Div. 4 football
- Greg Joyce | @GJoyce9 | Div. 5 football
- Lorenzo Recupero | @LorenzoRecupero | Div. 6 football
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls volleyball
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail email@example.com.