EVERETT — On an afternoon of violent collisions, highlight-reel hits and physical hand-to-hand scuffles in the trenches, one hit rang most loudly for Central Catholic. It was the hit that made Raiders believe.
Down 7-0 at the half, Central knew it could play with Everett. But beat them?
Not until Markus Edmunds rocked Everett QB Lukas Denis in the third, separating him from the football and getting the Raiders in business at the Crimson Tide 10.
That confidence, a fierce defense and ultimately just enough offense powered Central Catholic to one of its great wins in program history, 20-15, here at Everett Veterans Memorial Stadium in the Division 1 North title game. Central will now play South champion Xaverian for the state title on Dec. 7 at Gillette Stadium.
“Markus was unbelievable on both sides of the ball all day. I’m glad for him, because people are getting a chance on a statewide level to see how good a football player he really is,” said Raider coach Chuck Adamopoulos. “And that hit was huge. Huge!”
Denis had just scooped up the snap that had soared wildly over his head. As he retreated Edmunds lowered the boom. The recovery and the ensuing 1-yard TD plunge by D’Andre Drummond-Mayrie was enlightening. Everett wasn’t unbeatable. And the Raiders went on to prove it with a handful of big plays.
It started on defense early, with big Joe Brown and Jorge Elias stuffing the Everett inside game. The Tide was held to only 135 yards on the ground, a season low.
Special teams did its job, too, for the Raiders, who blocked a pair of punts. And Dan Wilson’s 50-yard bomb of a punt that flew over the returner’s head and was ultimately fumbled away was a huge turning point, too.
Central had to make some plays on offense if the upset was to be completed, and the Raiders got it done late.