FOXBOROUGH — There’s something about that crimson red and gold that seems to give Everett an extra jolt of energy. Or maybe it’s good fortune. Or help from the heavens.
Offensive lineman John Montelus did spend much of the fourth quarter praying on the sideline.
This wasn’t your typical Everett Super Bowl victory — this one even made unflappable coach John DiBiaso queasy. But somehow, in the end, he was the coach getting doused in 10 gallons of ice water.
No. 2 Everett (11-1) survived No. 1 Barnstable (11-1), 20-19, in Saturday’s Division 1A Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium to capture its third straight title and ninth in DiBiaso’s tenure, which began in 1992.
“Honestly, this was way more stressful than any of the previous 10,” said the relieved coach, who has won nine Super Bowl titles with Everett and one at Weston, in 1991. “I’m emotionally, physically, and mentally drained. I’m just happy we came out of here with a win.”
In a rematch of the top teams in Eastern Massachusetts — the first was a rainy, double-overtime thriller in Everett on Sept. 28, which Barnstable won, 13-7 – Barnstable played well enough to win.
It was a matter of inches, really. Plays were that close to being converted for Barnstable. Two missed extra-point attempts. A half-dozen Nick Peabody passes that slipped off his receivers’ fingers or floated just over their hands.
“Just not enough,” said an exhausted Peabody, who finished 8 of 28 passing for 205 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, ending his senior year with 35 touchdown passes. “It’s tough to come this close and not get it. But we have something at Barnstable they can build on. We’ll come back.”
Peabody had his third pass of the game intercepted when Josh Palmer got an early read on a halfback screen and jumped the route, taking it 30 yards for a touchdown.
The cold temperatures and snow made the football difficult to hang on to, as Everett lost a pair of first-quarter fumbles, including one off a mishandled snap. Peabody connected with Tedaro France on an 8-yard score to take advantage of the first turnover, but Barnstable came up empty on the second.
And third. And fourth. And fifth.
Everett lost three fumbles and threw two interceptions in the game, but its defense only seemed more energized with each one.
“We were playing lazy,” said senior Jakarrie Washington, who teamed with senior Jalen Felix in man coverage against Barnstable’s dynamic receivers, France and Dylan Morris. “So we started stepping up.”
A 53-yard run by Washington gave Everett a 13-6 lead at halftime as Peabody finished the half 3 of 10 for 23 yards. Washington punched in a 6-yard run in the third quarter to push the lead to 20-6.
Finally, things starting rolling Barnstable’s way.
Peabody hit France on a well-executed underthrown pass that ended in a 76-yard score.
On Barnstable’s next possession, Peabody hit Hayden Murphy on a 40-yard pass to drive the Red Raiders to Everett’s 30-yard line. Everett put pressure on the senior quarterback on the next play, but he escaped the pocket and hit a wide-open France for a touchdown.
The extra-point attempt was wide left.
With 3:30 to go after a Barnstable stop, Peabody took over at the Barnstable 26 and drove 44 yards in two minutes. On third and 10, with pressure coming, Peabody forced a pass and Kenny Calaj jumped in front for the interception near the sideline.
As Everett tried to run the clock out, Calaj fumbled on an inside handoff and Barnstable recovered, but the officials ruled Calaj’s elbow was down before the ball slipped out.
“I knew I was down,” said Calaj, who ran for 46 yards on 11 carries. “I was not going to let that happen.’’