By Tyler Amaral
TAUNTON – Everett senior quarterback Karmarri Ellerbe was the star of the show Friday night in Taunton. Ellerbe accounted for three touchdowns in the first half to propel the No. 11 Crimson Tide to a 33-14 upset victory in the first round of the state tournament.
It couldn’t have been a better start for Everett. No. 6 Taunton (5-3) won the toss and deferred. The Tide began the game with the ball at their own 38 yard line. Everett came out in a trips right formation and used a slight rollout to give Ellerbe a clear passing window. Ellerbe connected with senior wide receiver Giacobbe Ward for a 62 yard touchdown on the game’s first play.
After the teams exchanged punts, Taunton senior Malachi Johnson exploded for a 56 yard touchdown run to tie the game at 7.
Everett (8-1) kept it simple and relied on the bruising Ellerbe to lead them down field on their next two possessions after the Taunton score. Ellerbe capped off the drives with touchdown runs of 11 and 6 yards, respectively.
“Karmarri’s a downhill runner” said Everett coach Rob DiLoreto after the game. “We’ve designed our offense to be downhill this year.”
On the defensive side of the ball for Everett, the story begins and ends with senior defensive back David DeSouza.
DeSouza, a first year football player, had two interceptions, a pass breakup and multiple tackles at or around the line of scrimmage. The second DeSouza interception was the game-sealer.
Trailing 26-14 in the final quarter, Taunton was facing a third down and long. The Tigers called a wide receiver screen. The pass bounced off the receiver’s hands and into the waiting arms of DeSouza at the 2 yard line. DeSouza caught the ball and walked into the endzone to extend the lead to 19.
“David’s a first year football player. He decided to come out during our weight training. He’s a basketball player” said DiLoreto. “We won him over. We knew he was an athlete. We basically talked to him in the spring and the summer and said “David, we just need you to play cornerback.”
Everett also received a first half touchdown from junior running back Damien Lackland. Lackland punched it in from 3 yards out after junior defensive end Shane MacKenzie came up with a strip sack and fumble recovery.
Taunton’s other score came on a long touchdown pass by Jacob Leonard to receiver Dmitrius Shearrion just before halftime.
Everett’s defense was excellent throughout with juniors Christian Zamor, Pedro Rodrigues, Domenic Papa and Aidan Duclos consistently making life difficult for the Tigers.
DiLoreto, an Everett graduate, added after the game “proud member of the Class of 1984. I’m an Everett native. We represent the city. We represent the E with pride. This is all about Everett family. And I’m the proudest man on the Earth to be able to coach in my hometown and the school I graduated high school from.”