EVERETT — The best football team in the state may not be a Division 1 program and the best quarterback in the state may be an underclassman.
Springfield Central, the defending D3 state champion, came all the way east to Everett for its opener and dropped the hammer on the perennial D1 power, dominating from wire-to-wire for a 40-12 victory.
Freshman William Watson (16-for-28 passing, 305 yards, TD) was simply brilliant in his first varsity start.
Already offered by UMass Amherst, Watson showed his advanced skill set with an array of deep throws and incredible escapability in the pocket, pacing the Golden Eagles to a 33-0 lead midway through the third quarter with help from his loaded receiving corps and junior running back Marcus Crawford (18 carries, 187 yards, 4 touchdowns).
“There’s a lot of expectations for [Watson] and part of that falls on the coaching staff,” said Central coach Valdamar Brower, a former All-American at UMass. “I keep my distance and support him, but we just have to stay level-headed.”
The game started on a somber note. Everett junior linebacker Egan Gouveia appeared to suffer a serious injury on the opening kickoff and was taken off the field on a stretcher. Assistant coaches later found out that Gouveia was on the road to recovery at Massachusetts General Hospital.
“Our prayers our with Egan,” said Everett coach Theluxon Pierre. “We got word that he’s doing OK, so that’s the most important thing tonight.”
With Watson at the controls, the Golden Eagles scored touchdowns on two of their first three possessions, outgaining Everett, 243-73, en route to a 21-0 halftime lead.
Watson found sophomore Joe Griffin Jr. (seven receptions, 132 yards) for a 28-yard touchdown to open the third quarter, and Crawford broke off touchdown runs of 71 and 25 yards to put the game away.
“I hope they’re awake now,” Pierre said of his team. “There was no effort on the Everett side today and that never happens. Never. So, we’ll get to the bottom of that.”
Central will continue its tough early schedule with a test at Central Catholic next week before taking on former Everett coach John DiBiaso and Catholic Memorial. Brower relishes the opportunity to face the best competition in the state, and clearly, his Golden Eagles can handle the challenge.
“Everett is a great program and we want to keep this going,” said Brower. “This was a great win for 2019, but this is something I hope is a long-term relationship. It’s just good for the program. We have high expectations and we just want to compete against anybody.”
More photos from Friay night’s Everett-Springfield Central game:
Nate Weitzer can be reached at email@example.com.