(Video by Greg Story)
DORCHESTER, Mass. –- We’re seven weeks deep into the 2012 season, and we’re still sitting here with questions about Everett’s offense.
The Crimson Tide’s quarterback situation is still unsettled. Their oft-injured tailback is still touch-and-go on a weekly basis. The offense on a whole, while stocked with multiple Division 1 talents, always seems to need a swift kick from the opposition before it gets rolling.
On the other side of the ball, however, things seem to have cleaned up over the last two weeks. After surrendering 30 points to Cambridge and its modified “Air Raid” attack on Oct. 5, the Crimson Tide have allowed just 14 points in the last two games. Today, they rang up six sacks of BC High quarterback Brendan Craven –- including two each from ends Jeff Soulouque and Omar Graciano –- en route to a 28-7 win to sweep the Catholic Conference portion of the schedule for the third straight season.
“Coach Mac [defensive assistant Joe McLaughlin] always tells us, hit your gaps, play hard, do your job and we’ll get things done out here,” said Soulouque.
Indeed, they hit their gaps, and hit often. With Soulouque and Graciano playing wide five techniques as bookends, the Tide (6-1) confused the Eagles (2-4) with pressure from multiple different angles. They were arguably at their most effective when blitzing linebacker C.J. Parvelus, or shooting strong safety Lubern Figaro off of either edge outside of the ends.
On the other half of the ball, Everett’s tandem of receiver Jakarrie Washington (83 total yards, 2 TD) and athlete Jalen Felix (16 carries, 129 yards) once again kick-started the offense back to life late in the first half with some darting plays in the open field.
Felix took a 58-yard sweep down the left sideline on the first play of an Everett drive with 2:56 to go in the second quarter, setting up Joey White’s eight-yard plunge to go up 7-0. BC High responded immediately with a 74-yard touchdown pass from Dan Collins to Tim Johnson, for a 7-7 tie at the half, but in the second half it was all Everett.
Just as he has in the Tide’s two other Catholic Conference contests this season, Washington turned the game on its heels with a dynamic score in the open field. He first finished off the Tide’s opening drive of the second half with a 24-yard screen pass from Raheem Wingard, darting inside of a seal block by Notre Dame-bound tackle John Montelus and shedding an arm tackle as he ran over the pylon.
The Tide then shut the door in the fourth with another Washington scamper, this one a 17-yard tunnel screen that, after a Felix two-point rush, made it 21-7 with less than six minutes to go.
Crimson Island: Everett head coach John DiBiaso fielded an assortment of questions relating to the edge play of the defense, and related it all back to the play of his cornerbacks, Felix and Washington. The two alternated between left and right corner, and got into the teeth of BC High’s top downfield targets early with some physical press coverage.
It wasn’t without its mistakes, of course. The play that sprung Johnson free was a simple slant across the middle, from the left slot, that left one defender in the dust and free safety Gilly De Souza chasing from behind. But the number that will stick out here is Villanova-bound receiver Lincoln Collins –- the Eagles’ top target, and at 6-foot-4 a downfield threat that can stretch many a secondary deep -– registering two catches for a total of 15 yards.
“We sent some safeties, it did get them thinking and made them uncomfortable in the pocket, that’s the goal of doing things like that,” DiBiaso said. “But you can’t do that if you don’t have two guys who can cover on the outside. When you’ve got two guys that can get in their face and cover those guys, that’s what does it. If you’ve got to double-cover Lincoln [Collins], then you can’t do that stuff.”
Spartacus Offense, ctd.: This is Wingard’s second start under center, after first taking some snaps late in the Tide’s win over Cambridge on Oct. 5; in two games, the 5-foot-9, 160-pound junior has five touchdown strikes (including two today). Asked if Wingard is the answer for the rest of the season, or just now, DiBiaso took a deep breath.
“Honestly, watch us in warm-ups, and you tell me,” DiBiaso said. “I look down at BC [High], and he’s got four kids, 6-3, 6-4, throwing passes. I’ve got Raheem and my assistant coaches. I don’t even have another kid that can throw a pass in warm-ups. So it is what it is, you have to live with it.”
Referring to the 6-foot-5, 325-pound Montelus, DiBiaso continued with a chuckle, “Unless we can make John Montelus a quarterback, then I don’t know.”
Quarterback has become a revolving door in 2012 for Everett. Sophomores Pat Long and Lukas Denis were expected to compete for the starting job in the preseason, but both went down with injuries; only Denis has seen action late in lopsided wins. De Souza, the kicker, stepped into the role and the Tide promptly went 4-1, only to watch him rough up his ankle, hence the tapping of Wingard for the job.
“He’s got a bad ankle, he’s been hobbled,” DiBiaso said of De Souza. “Not to make excuses for him, but a healthy Gilly, that [Tim Johnson TD reception] is not a touchdown. Gilly’s playing him on one good leg right now.”
That’s even affected his kicking ability, normally among the state’s most dependable. De Souza knuckle-balled the extra point kick wide left on Washington’s first touchdown. Two of his kickoffs went out of bounds, resulting in penalties.
EVERETT 28, BC HIGH 7
EHS 0 7 7 14 --- 28
BCH 0 7 0 0 --- 7
E – Joey White 8 run (Gilly De Souza kick) 2:32
B – Tim Johnson 74 pass from Dan Collins (Jackson Bockhorst kick) 1:32
E – Jakarrie Washington 24 pass from Raheem Wingard (kick failed) 6:06
E – Washington 17 pass from Wingard (Jalen Felix run) 5:43
E – Marquis Holman 17 run (De Souza kick) 4:24