FOXBOROUGH – Barnstable players thought the miracle had happened.
With less than a minute left and the Red Raiders behind Everett, 20-19, in the Division 1A Super Bowl, Crimson Tide running back Kenny Calaj dropped the football and Barnstable’s Kevin Hardy fell on it.
As the Red Raiders were preparing to send their offense to the field for one last drive from the Everett 35-yard line, officials ruled Calaj’s elbow had been down before the ball came loose. Everett then sat on the ball and claimed the title.
Replays indicated that Hardy’s hit sent Calaj diving forward, but his left elbow hit the Gillette Stadium turf before the ball popped out.
“I knew I was doing down and I felt my elbow hit the ground,” Calaj said. “I knew I was down. I said, ‘Look at that replay.’ I was not going to let that happen.”
Some other leftover thoughts from Everett’s reclaiming of the top spot in Eastern Massachusetts:
- John Montelus, who, until the playoffs, hadn’t allowed a sack in his three-year high school career, allowed a sack in this game. But he was cut by a Barnstable defensive back on a screen play and quarterback Raheem Wingard couldn’t get the pass of in time. With that said, Montelus, who has been widely regarded as a premium pass-blocker, was a crucial part of the Crimson Tide’s running game.
By the second half, Everett would hand off to Kenny Calaj or Jalen Felix, who would simply line up behind Montelus and follow his lead through a line of Barnstable defenders. Everett rushed for 225 yards on the day.
- Everett junior quarterback Raheem Wingard was 6 for 8 with an interception and 88 passing yards, but, aside for a pair of turnovers, he played a solid game under center. He extended a third-and-13 play late in the first half by escaping the pocket and rushing outside for 16 yards and a first down.
He was knocked out of the game in the third quarter and temporarily replaced by Gilly DeSouza, but Wingard returned on the next possession.
“I didn’t like [being on the bench] man,” he said. “It’s the worst feeling ever. They dog-piled me right on the center of my back. But it’s the last game of the season – you have to stick it out.”
- Barnstable quarterback Nick Peabody was 8 for 28 with two interceptions and three touchdowns, but he only made a couple bad passes all game – and Everett was bringing the pressure while letting its secondary play man-coverage.
Peabody had a few balls go off the fingers of his receiving corps, with the snow surely playing a factor in the passing game. And he was just inches away from connecting with Tedaro France on a pair of deep routes that could have changed the game.
His big mistake came when he tried to make something out of nothing on a third-and-10 play with less than two minutes left in the game. He was rushed by Everett’s defensive line and forced a pass on an out-route that Kenny Calaj easily jumped for an interception.
“We had a rollout, I got some pressure off the edge and I just tried to make something happen,” he said. “I just threw it too late.”
Jakarrie Washington might have been inconsistent at times this year, but his speed is the definition of “game-changing.”
He broke loose on a misdirection play in the second quarter and made a devastating cut on the outside to finish a 53-yard run with a touchdown. He scored again later in the game on a 6-yard run to the outside.
Washington, who also worked as a cornerback on defense, finished with 124 yards on 9 carries.
- In a pair of games between these teams, there were 59 total points scored. And these are two explosive offenses. The defenses came out to play.
Montelus said Barnstable was one of the best defensive lines he’s had block against this year, with Andrew Ellis and company closing gaps on the outside of the field and, aside from Washington’s long run, limited Everett from the big play.
But it was Everett’s defense that impressed even more, forcing Peabody and the Red Raiders to go 1 for 12 on third-down conversions.
“The same thing happened last time when we were in overtime,” Wingard said. “Our defense was much more experienced this game.
“It was two great defenses and you just have to take what the defense gives you. Eventually we got it done. Defense wins championships.”
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.