Running back Thomas Garland (pictured) stretches out before Xaverian’s season-opening tilt against No. 1 Everett on Friday night at the Hawk Bowl.
By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Isaac Seide did not disappoint in his highly anticipated debut for No. 1 Everett on Friday night against No. 2 Xaverian, as the new Crimson Tide workhorse rushed for 165 yards and three touchdowns on just 14 touches to help lead his team to a 34-21 season-opening victory over the Hawks.
Sophomore quarterback Duke Doherty completed 13 of 17 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns in his first-career start, with both touchdown passes going to Virginia Tech-committed receiver Mike Sainristil (eight receptions, 103 yards).
A 20-yard hookup on Everett’s opening drive from Doherty to Sainristil in the right corner of the end zone gave the Crimson Tide a 6-0 lead with 5:01 to play in the opening quarter. Everett forced Xaverian to a three-and-out before Seide busted a 52-yard run inside the Xaverian 20-yard line to set up the Crimson Tide in the red zone. Senior captain and defensive end Trevor Carroll came up with a huge play for the Hawks, however, stuffing Seide on fourth down three plays later to get the ball back for Xaverian and keep the deficit at just 6-0.
Everett again forced a Xaverian punt, but a strip sack and recovery by Rocco Basso gave Xaverian back possession in plus territory to begin the second quarter. Sophomore quarterback Mike Berluti then led the Hawks down the field by completing a 24-yard pass to senior captain and wide-out Cooper DeVeau before hooking up with fullback Matt Milligan for a 10-yard touchdown to tie the game at six (PAT unsuccessful).
Doherty responded right back for the Crimson Tide, completing three straight passes to Eli August and Sainristil, the final of which was a 50-yard touchdown strike to the future Hokie to reclaim the lead for Everett. Doherty added a successful two-point conversion on a read-option to make it a 14-6 game with 5:41 to play in the half.
Thomas Garland took a pitch on an option from Beluti and stormed down inside the Everett 20 to put Xaverian in business on their next possession. Senior captain and running back Mike Saliba then punched the ball in from five yards out four plays later and Garland tacked on a successful two-point conversion off of a toss play to tie the game at 14 with 2:36 remaining.
Isaac Seide responded loudly for Everett, however, ripping off a 59-yard touchdown run down the near sideline with 59 seconds to play to give the Crimson Tide a 20-14 lead at halftime (two-point try unsuccessful).
Robby Riobe intercepted Berluti on Xaverian’s opening possession of the second half to set up Everett at midfield. Seide busted a 30-yard run down the near sideline to set up the Crimson Tide in the red zone. Seide capped off the drive with a nine-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-goal to extend Everett’s lead to 26-14 with 4:04 remaining (two-point try unsuccessful).
The game remained 26-14 until 6:08 to play in the fourth quarter, when Berluti snuck the ball in from a yard out to cut the deficit to 26-21 (PAT successful). Xaverian was able to force Everett to a three-and-out on their next possession, thanks to a pass break-up by Justin Wenstrom. However, Sainristil converted a successful fake-punt attempt on fourth down with a 16-yard run up the near sideline to give Everett a new fresh set of downs. Three plays later, Seide sealed the victory for Everett with a 44-yard touchdown run to give the Crimson Tide a 34-21 lead (two-point try successful) and Everett hung on for the 13-point win.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0.