LYNN — One hundred hearts beating as one.
Those words from Everett coach John DiBiaso, a man who knows the feeling of hoisting a Super Bowl trophy better than most, felt they were fitting for a team that displayed dominance and did it with the camaraderie and cohesiveness of a true football family.
No. 2 Everett knocked off No. 1 Xaverian, 21-7, Saturday in front of a packed Manning Field crowd, grasping hold of its first Division 1 Super Bowl trophy since 2012, and the 11th in DiBiaso’s illustrious tenure.
It was the first victory over Xaverian in the Super Bowl in program history.
“There’s no selfishness on this team,” DiBiaso said. “I’m happy for the seniors, happy for the community, happy for everybody. I feel the pressure every day. I’m happy for the kids. I’m an old man. I want them to enjoy it.”
After losses to Xaverian (10-2) in Week 1 and Billerica in Week 4, the Crimson (10-2) went on a tear, entering the playoffs as the fifth seed — then never trailing once for the duration of the postseason.
Beating Xaverian, which had won in 2014 in Everett’s last Super Bowl appearance, made the victory that much sweeter.
“It all hit me because we’ve been through so much,” said senior quarterback Jordan McAfee (11 for 21, 214 yards passing, and two touchdowns).
“It feels amazing. People were doubting us but we proved them wrong. The seniors deserve it, we all deserve it.”
As it had in each of its three playoff games, the Crimson offense struck on its opening drive. The Crimson went 70 yards on six plays in just over two minutes, finding the end zone on a 38-yard catch-and-run from McAfee to sophomore wideout Mike Sainristil.
Sainristil, a key cog for Everett in all three facets of the game, finished with four catches for 87 yards, including a sprawling highlight-reel grab midway through the fourth quarter.
“Jordan got it out quick to Mikey [and] Mikey is a playmaker,” said DiBiaso. “He’s electric.”
“All summer, Coach had us working in the gym,” Sainristil said, “and none of us wanted to quit because we knew what was in store this year. We all were asking the seniors, ‘How do you want to end your season?’ ”
One senior, running back Marvens Fedna, had his own moment early in the second quarter, scoring from 10 yards out to increase Everett’s lead to 14-0.
“They have a great defense, one of the best defenses in the state,” Fedna said. “Our offense and defense, we feed off of each other. We feed off of the energy they give.”
Indeed it was Everett’s swarming, physical defensive unit that proved the difference, holding Xaverian scoreless until late in the fourth quarter after a McAfee-to-Theo Zidor 38-yard touchdown gave the Crimson a sturdy 21-0 advantage.
Seniors Duval Paul and RJ Fialli, and junior Duane Bennitt Binns all came up with sacks of Mattison Cronin, while senior Gerell Boyce recovered a Xaverian fumble.
“They played great on both sides so congrats to them,” said Xaverian coach Charlie Stevenson. “I said to [the seniors], the only thing that happened today was we lost a football game. It’s not a tragedy. Nobody died. The sun is coming up tomorrow.”
The Hawks avoided the shutout with a 43-yard pass from Cronin to senior Mekhi Henderson.
The next and final Xaverian possession was a fitting end to an emphatic Everett performance, as junior Jason Maitre picked off a Cronin prayer.
“Coach told us the seniors were going to be the first class to leave here without a championship [if we didn’t win today],” said Maitre. “They beat us [Week 1] and we stepped up big.”
Basking in the afterglow, Fedna struggled to grasp and describe the rush of emotions he felt following his final high school contest.
“I don’t know how to put these feelings into words right now,” he said. “This is my first championship. It doesn’t feel real yet, but we know we’re champions so that’s good enough for now.”
Everett 21, Xaverian 7
at Manning Field, Lynn
E — Mike Sainristil 38 pass from Jordan McAfee (Gabriel DeSouza kick)
E — Marvens Fedna 10 run (Gabriel DeSouza kick)
E — Theo Zidor 38 pass from Jordan McAfee (Gabriel DeSouza kick)
X — Mekhi Henderson 43 pass from Matt Cronin (Brian Fallon kick)
RUSHING — E, Marvens Fedna 17-52, Chris Jenkins 5-32, Jordan McAfee 2-5; X, Devin Piccinin 18-51, 8-31, Ben Kangos 1-5
PASSING — E, Jordan McAfee 11-21-0-214; X, Matt Cronin 10-20-1-163
RECEIVING — E, Mike Sainristil 4-87, David Zorrilla 2-63, Theo Zidor 4-57, Chris Jenkins 1-7; X, Mekhi Henderson 2-48, Devin Piccinin 3-44, Cal Flanders 1-32, Nicholas Monopoli 2-20, AJ Ryan 1-15,Owen Pence can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.