WESTWOOD – Everett and Xaverian combined for seven turnovers – more than both head coaches John DiBiaso and Charlie Stevenson wanted to see.
But only the Hawks miscues proved costly, as Everett came away with 17 points after two muffed punts and a fumble to take a 24-7 victory at the Hawk Bowl.
“We’re just so up and down, and our offense today struggled but our defense played well,” DiBiaso said. “You just can’t have three turnovers against good teams, but we’re just very fortunate our defense stepped up.”
Late in the first quarter, Xaverian’s Kyle Darrow linde up for a punt around midfield, but the snap sailed over his head and Everett recovered at the 29-yard line. On the fifth play of the drive, Jakarrie Washington danced his way to a 2-yard score to put Everett up 7-0.
On Xaverian’s ensuing possession, the snap again sailed over Darrow’s head, and he was forced to throw a helpless pass that fell incomplete.
The Tide took over from Xaverian’s 31-yard line, and again Washington (9 carries, 81 yards) capped the drive – this time with a 10-yard score.
“We just pounded the ball down the middle and had great blocking on the line,” Washington said. “I just believe in my linemen and follow behind them.”
The troubles continued for the Hawks, as DJ Pagliuca fumbled the ensuing kick return and Everett recovered on the 24-yard line.
That drive ended with a 36-yard field goal by Gilly DeSouza, boosting Everett to a 17-0 lead.
“We’re giving our opponents easy points on special teams,” Xaverian coach Charlie Stevenson said. “It’s hard when you give Everett three easy, short-field possessions and 17 points.”
Late in the first half, Everett’s Jalen Felix fumbled and Xaverian (1-5) recovered. But Hawks quarterback Austin DeCarr was intercepted by Washington four plays later, and the chance to score before the half was gone.
Austin DeCarr hit Pagliuca with a 62-yard touchdown score in the third quarter, but Everett dashed the Hawks hopes of a comeback when Washington scored for the third time with an 8-yard run.
On Everett’s next possession, junior Raheem Wingard was intercepted by Xaverian defensive back DJ Sperzel. However, Xaverian was unable to come away with any points after the turnover.
In the fourth quarter, Xaverian’s key players Pagliuca and running back Mike Brennan were injured.
“We got a few dings out there today,” Stevenson said. “Pagliuca (shoulder) may be out for a while – he probably won’t be ready for [Bridgewater-Raynham next week], and Mike won’t be back for Bridgewater I’m sure, but Mike’s a tough kid so who knows. Maybe they’ll both be back.”
While No. 2 Everett (5-1) came away with the win, DiBiaso admitted that there’s plenty more work to do.
“We still haven’t developed an identity on offense,” DiBiaso said. “We need to do that the next couple of weeks. I thought we ran double wing better than we had all year, but on the other side our spread offense bogged down and we made mistakes.
“We’re a work in progress, and the important thing is we’re ready for the [Greater Boston league] season. And then most importantly if we make the playoffs, you have to be ready then.”Anthony Gulizia can be reached at email@example.com. You can follow him on Twitter @gulizia_a.