EVERETT - Waltham made its intentions known during the offseason. After transferring from the Greater Boston League to the Dual County League, the Hawks were no longer obligated to annually lock horns with the perennial Division 1 power Everett, but confidently chose to nonetheless. For the first half last night, it looked like a wise choice.
That turned out to be nothing but a consolation prize for Waltham, however, after watching the top-ranked Crimson Tide run all over the field in piling up a 38-8 win at Veteran's Memorial Stadium.
J.W. Forte accounted for 155 yards on 11 runs, quieting concerns about Everett's backfield that lost All-Scholastic Isaac Johnson to graduation.
"J.W.'s very fast, we have some fast kids," said coach John DiBiaso. "We had the speed advantage coming in and played to it. J.W. was a very big part of that."
The game was actually a nail-biter after two quarters, with a 27-yard field by Everett's Igor Garcia's as time expired accounting for the only points of the half.
Waltham's defense disrupted the rhythm of quarterback Joe Conti (2 for 5, 42 yards) with blitzes. The Hawks ended up recovering a fumble on the Tide's first drive after Forte and running back Jesus Crawford utilized their speed to get the offense into scoring position. Conti dropped back for his first pass attempt of the game, only to be blindsided and have the ball knocked loose. Waltham lineman Niko Pugliesi jumped on the ball, securing possession, and momentum, for the Hawks.
Even after Forte gathered 27 of his yards on a highlight-reel touchdown run down the right sideline, leaving three defenders in his wake, the Tide led only 10-0 in the third quarter.
Things got all the tighter when, trying to scratch his team out of its own 10-yard line following a booming punt by Ivan Colon, Conti pivoted to hit Crawford on the screen. The throw went off Crawford's fingertips, bouncing into the end zone and creating a frenzy for the ball. When the smoke cleared, Waltham linebacker Jason Genece emerged with the ball and, more importantly, 6 points for the Hawks. Inched up to the goal line by a pair of Everett penalties on the ensuing extra-point attempt, Genece was able to muscle his way through for 2 points, pushing the score to 10-8.
Crawford was able to give the Tide some much-needed breathing room following the mishap, taking a pitch 15 yards to paydirt, running the score to 17-8 after a Garcia extra point.
Sophomore running back Jean Bourdeau (three rushes for 52 yards) followed suit, showcasing the depth in Everett's backfield by dipping and dancing for two impressive touchdown runs in the fourth quarter, sandwiched between a 20-yard TD run by Forte.