Prep pulls a stunner: Eagles shock Everett, snap Tide’s 62-game streak

EVERETT – Streak over.Monday night at Everett Memorial Stadium, the St. John’s Prep football team was the decided underdog against an Everett team which came in game riding a 62-game regular season winning streak.That was until a motivated Eagles squad took the field.The Eagles, who had not beaten the nationally-ranked Crimson Tide in four tries, set the tone early with an 88-yard touchdown run by George Sessoms on their first play from scrimmage and carried it the rest of the way to a stunning 20-7 win. The senior also added touchdown runs of three and 65 yards in the third quarter.”It’s been frustrating against them because we’ve been close a couple of times,” Prep coach Jim O’Leary said. “The kids played hard and I’m excited for them.”Sessoms did in the Crimson Tide on offense, rushing for 190 yards and the three touchdowns on just 11 carries.”All we did was run our isolations right at them and the offensive line opened up the holes and we got through them,” O’Leary said. “George had a great game.”The Prep also put the shackles on the potent Crimson Tide offense until the outcome was well in hand. Everett quarterback Joe Conti was picked off four times, twice each by Kevin Davis and Brian Keenan, as the Eagles forced five turnovers.Defensive coordinator Mike Barbati’s unit also held the Everett ground attack to 150 yards on 40 carries and made the stand of the night in the third quarter, stopping Everett on fourth-and-goal from the three late in the third quarter.”The kids played hard and made all the plays. They deserve all the credit,” Barbati said.The Eagles (3-0) got the scoring started in the first quarter when Sessoms took off on his 88 yard scoring run. Bobby Preston’s kick was blocked to keep it 6-0 after the first quarter.The second quarter belonged to the defenses as neither team was able to sustain drives. The Prep had a chance late in the half but Preston’s long field goal attempt went astray.”We were able to stop them right before the half,” O’Leary said. “We got excited then.”With Everett, however, no lead is safe as the Crimson Tide had blown the doors off their previous three opponents this season in the final 22 minutes.But this was turning into no ordinary night for Everett as the Prep turned the momentum to their side on special teams in the third quarter.A big hit by Jeff Dube on a punt led to a fumble that Joe Franciosa recovered. Sessoms turned the opportunity into six when he scored from three yards out to make it 14-0 after Greg Donahue threw to James Fahey for the 2-point conversion.The Crimson Tide (2-1) fought back and had a chance to make it interesting late in the third but the Prep defense came up with their goalline stand to keep it 14-0 heading to the fourth.”That goalline stand was huge because we turned the ball over to them and they went right down the field,” O’Leary said.With the Everett cognoscenti now on pins and needles, the Prep delivered the knockout blow in the form of a Sessoms 65 yard touchdown run that upped the margin to 20-0.Conti got the Tide on the board late in the fourth when he hit Jesus Crawford for a 17-yard touchdown.But as the time ticked away and the Eagles knew they were going to end one of the greatest streaks in Eastern Mass football history, O’Leary couldn’t help but crack a little bit of a smile on the sidelines.”It was more relief than joy,” O’Leary said. “It’s justification for what we do as coaches.”The road doesn’t get any easier for the Eagles as they have a short week of preparation for a trip to Marciano Stadium Friday (7) at Brockton.”We’ve got practice (today) and we have to get ready for Brockton,” O’Leary said.

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