Perfect storm for Hawks
Xaverian leaves Everett out in cold
FOXBOROUGH - Throughout the game, Xaverian appeared unwilling to yield to the elements, so the snowstorm buffeting Gillette Stadium turned its fury on Everett.
The No. 1 Hawks shrugged off the weather and dominated the Crimson Tide in every aspect en route to capping off a perfect 13-0 season with a 29-0 shutout yesterday for the Division 1 Super Bowl title, the storied program’s first since 1998.
“This was the best six months of my life,’’ said running back Joe Colton, who ended the season as the Hawks’ leading scorer after a two-touchdown performance. “Being 12-0 against Everett, in the Super Bowl, in Gillette, in the snow. It doesn’t get any better than this.’’
The Hawks, who outgained No. 9 Everett by 146 yards and allowed just one first down, squeezed 19 points out of the Tide’s four first-half fumbles, two of which came on kickoffs.
“That’s December football in New England,’’ said Xaverian coach Charlie Stevenson. “Sometimes you never know how your guys are going to play under these conditions. It was awesome.’’
As the snow began to dust the field, Everett’s Jean Bourdeau could not get a clean handle on Jonathan DiBiaso’s first-quarter handoff, the slick ball being recovered by senior captain Mike Hyatt. Nine plays later, Xaverian started the second quarter with a 24-yard touchdown pass from Alex Phelan to Colton, who accrued 108 yards on the ground. Jules Murphy nailed the extra point, not exactly a given in the conditions, to stake the Catholic Conference champs to a 7-0 lead.
“We’ve wanted this since freshman year,’’ said Catholic Conference MVP Phelan, who garnered all of his 71 passing yards in the first half and didn’t attempt a pass after intermission. “It is really nice to put it all together in the first half of my senior season . . . of our senior season.’’
On Everett’s next drive, DiBiaso was blindsided by Kevin Ihlefeld, who stripped the ball in the backfield to set up a defensive recovery by Nick Howard on the Everett 9. Senior fullback Matt Tuleja took an inside handoff to the house on the next play, and Murphy’s wind-blown failed extra-point attempt was just an afterthought.
Things went from bad to worse for the Crimson Tide on the ensuing kickoff that bounced around until Nick McDaniels smothered it on Everett’s 38. Rodman Noel eventually blocked Murphy’s 27-yard field goal attempt, but the highlight of the drive came on a third-and-15 pass from Phelan down the left sideline to Mike Muir, who made a miraculous 35-yard snag.
Xaverian’s stone-cold defense kept Everett from a first down again, and Phelan finished a short drive with a 7-yard touchdown run.
“[The weather] definitely makes it tougher,’’ said lineman Jack Dustin. “But it makes it a hell of a lot funner. We came to hit them harder than they came to hit us.’’
Never letting its foot off the pedal, Xaverian recovered another fumble on the ensuing kickoff at the Tide’s 5. Murphy kicked a field goal from there with six seconds left, breaking Everett’s spirit and giving the Hawks a 22-0 lead at the half.
Colton put an exclamation point on a perfect evening, and season, scoring on a 38-yard run in the fourth quarter.
“It is really nice to put it all together in my senior season,’’ said Colton. “We just wanted to play our game.’’