EVERETT -- The streak is over. The Crimson Tide’s 13-7 double-overtime loss to Barnstable last week, was their first since the 2009 Division 1 Super Bowl against Xaverian, snapping a 28-game win streak, the third longest in the team’s history. The school's longer win streaks are a 36-gamer from 1995-1999 and a 30-gamer from 1913-1915.
Quarterbacks coach Joe Lento said the team has to move on from the loss and improve on the things that went wrong against Barnstable.
“We’re gonna use this week to get better and build from there,” Lento said. “We can’t look back. We have to put [the loss] in the rear view and keep going forward. There’s a lot of stuff we saw in the film that we can tighten up. We had a couple guys banged up. It was just a bunch of things.”
Lento said the players need to maintain a positive attitude, despite the unfamiliar feeling of having to bounce back after a loss.
“We just want to get positive momentum going week to week,” Lento said. “We wish [this] Friday came right after [last] Friday night, just to get the kids back on the field, get them winning again, get all the positive attitudes going. We want to get them rolling, get this machine going.”
Everett (3-1) now finds itself at No. 2 in the Globe rankings and will play its Greater Boston League opener against Cambridge (2-2) on Friday night. This will be the first year the two teams will not play their traditional Thanksgiving Day game.
“It’s an interesting scenario, to be honest,” Lento said. “But, these four league games are the most important thing, the most important games of the year. We treat them with the upmost importance.”
Head coach John DiBiaso is hoping that last week serves as motivation for his squad, going into Friday night’s game with the Falcons.
“Hopefully we woke up,” he said. “The lucky part is, it wasn’t a league game. This Friday is a league game. We have to be ready. If you learn from [a loss], then you can take positives from it. But it’s yet to be determined if we’ve learned from it. Friday can’t come soon enough.”
The Tide has not lost to Cambridge since Thanksgiving in 2001, when they fell to the Falcons, 13-7.
The Tide’s offense struggled against Barnstable, failing to score from the 1-yard line twice. With heavy rain falling throughout much of the game, Lento says the weather was a factor, but that it limited both sides.
“I think it was a factor for both teams, really,” he said. “It really made us one-dimensional. I know [Barnstable] was very pass-heavy going in. It’s a different football game with the elements.”
Running back Joey White, said the offense needs to do a better job at blocking and making sure that when the backs have the ball, they hit the right holes.
“We weren’t getting first downs,” White said. “We kept getting three-and-outs. We put the pressure on our defense to stop (Barnstable). We need to do a better job blocking and opening up the holes for the running backs. And when the running backs get the ball, just start being smarter with it and make the right cuts. We didn’t do that good enough.”
White said, this week, the team is ready to show that one loss won’t define their season.
“We’re still one of the best teams in the state. We need to show from here on in, there’s no more jokes.”
The Tide is struggling, big time, with injuries this week. Senior wide receiver Kenny Calaj, who was hurt early in the season, but played the last two weeks, is out again. And fellow senior wideout, Jalen Felix, is also out this week with an injury.
DiBiaso confirmed that junior quarterback Pat Long (separated shoulder), who was injured before the start of the season, has been ruled out for the year. Sophomore quarterback Lukas Denis (elbow), also will not return.
“We’re banged up right now,” DiBiaso said. “But, the season goes on. You bounce back. We got enough guys to play, we’ve got 11 guys.”
Omar Easy is one in a long line of former Everett High football greats.
He played at EHS from 1995-1997 and went on to play fours years at Penn State, before being drafted in the fourth round, 107th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2002 NFL Draft. He played four seasons in the NFL (three for the Chiefs and one in Oakland).
Now, he is back at EHS, getting experience before he takes over a new position at the school this winter.
“Helping kids is always what I wanted to do,” he said. “I wasn’t sure this would be the path. But, after going back to school and getting my doctorate [in educational leadership], it kind of seemed to fall in line.”
Easy returned to Penn State in 2009 to further his education and at the request of former Nittany Lions head coach, Joe Paterno, began helping out the football team.
The former Tide running back said Paterno was like a father figure to him, and all of his teammates, and credits him for being where he is today.
“I was very close to Joe Paterno,” Easy said. “If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have gone back to get my PhD there. Getting a doctorate is irreplaceable. It’s almost a bigger accomplishment than playing in the National Football League, even though, the odds of doing that are, like, one in a million. But the odds of getting a PhD after playing in the National Football League for five years is off the charts.”
Easy sighed when asked to describe his feelings on the controversy that rocked Penn St. last fall, following the sexual abuse scandal surrounding former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
“I really haven’t sat down to think of all that stuff,” he said. “I was so close to it in terms of being a student there, so my perspective is different. I was very, very disheartened to see how things happened toward the end of Coach Paterno’s career.”
Easy saw Sandusky bring children from his foundation (The Second Mile) to the locker room on many occasions, to get autographs and meet the players, but he said he never witnessed or heard of any wrongdoing.
“I wish we knew that [the abuse was going on],” he said. “It was hard because we never saw that. I knew [Sandusky] as a coach, a great defensive coordinator, so when all this stuff started to happen, I was really shocked.”
Easy was upset to see the downfall of Paterno, who was fired after it was believed he was involved in a massive coverup by the university.
“It was harder for me when he passed away [in January],” Easy said. “All this stuff happened and he wasn’t around to defend himself. A lot of blame was placed on Coach Paterno, that shouldn’t have been.”
Easy did say that if Paterno had knowledge of any wrongdoing that he should have brought that information to the proper authorities.
“On the other hand, if he had any indications that something was happening, he should have handled it the way the law should. He should’ve passed this on to police and his superiors.”
On a much lighter note, Easy talked about his trip to London this past summer for the Olympics. His fiancee and fellow Penn State grad, Megan Hodge, was playing in her first Olympic Games for the US women’s volleyball team.
“[The Olympics] were great,” Easy said. “London is great. I had a good time. I went to the volleyball games. It was disappointing that they lost the gold medal match [3-1 to Brazil].”
Easy said the highlight of the trip was when he and his brother bumped into the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, at a club.
“I actually hung out with Usain Bolt at a club. It was fun. I never got star struck, but it was cool.”
Every week we’ll have a captain or senior make a Patriots prediction for the upcoming game.
THIS WEEK’S PICK - BRONCOS at PATRIOTS
Sr. RB/DB Joey White: “I think it’s gonna be a game. By a field goal, [Patriots] are winning, 24-21.”
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 @ZuriBerry for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Alex Hall | @AlexKHall | Baseball
- Colleen Casey | @ColleenCasey226 | Softball
- Mike Giesta | Boys lacrosse
- Catherine Calsolaro | @catrenee13 | Girls lacrosse
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Boys volleyball
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