EVERETT – For three quarters, the Crimson Tide was clinging to a one-possession lead, struggling to distance themselves from Lowell.
The game was never out of reach for the Red Raiders until they ran into Everett’s buzzsaw defense, which forced four turnovers in the fourth quarter. From there, the Crimson Tide added a pair of touchdowns as Everett shut out visiting Lowell, 21-0, in a Division 1 North semifinal playoff game Friday night.
Everett (8-1), the top seed, will host second-seeded Central Catholic (8-1) in the North final next Friday.
“The defensive effort was strong the whole game,” Everett coach John DiBiaso said. “We were shooting ourselves in our foot on offense, and I thought our defense held us in the game. It was the defense that kept us in it early. I couldn’t ask for more of the defense.”
Running back Isaiah Davis rushed for a 13-yard touchdown to give Everett a 7-0 lead with 6:23 remaining in the first half. On the last play of the second quarter, Raheem Wingard’s pass was intercepted, and Davis injured his knee at the end of the play. Davis missed the entire second half.
DiBiaso called it a sprain, and said he would play next week.
Lowell’s troubles unfolded on the second play of the fourth quarter on a fumbled handoff between quarterback Brian Dolan and Ngaiiva Mason.
Josh Palmer recovered at the Lowell 17, and Marquis Holman (18 carries, 81 yards) carried three times, capping the drive with a 1-yard score to give Everett a 14-0 lead.
“I thought the key to the entire offense was Holman,” DiBiaso said. “He softened them up the middle. He set the tone for the outside, and set up all the outside plays. The offensive line deserved the credit, and Holman.”
On the next possession, the Crimson Tide’s Lubern Figaro intercepted Dolan’s pass after receiver Tom Smith tipped the ball.
Everett was forced to punt, but on the next play, Dolan was intercepted again, this time by Lukas Denis. On fourth and 4, Joe D’Onofrio rushed for a 23-yard score that gave Everett a 21-0 lead with 3:07 to play.
Lowell managed to get inside Everett’s 10-yard line, but Figaro intercepted Dolan in the end zone with 20 seconds remaining.
Figaro had the toughest assignment — covering Jack Galvin. He limited Galvin to two catches.
“I had to keep [Galvin] quiet, he’s the best player on their team,” Figaro said. “We’re trying to be the best defensive team in the state.”