Barnstable High School senior football captain Andrew Ellis said it best.
"Football," he said in published reports. "Is all about heart."
No high school football team in Eastern Massachusetts last night could have displayed more heart than the Red and White defense led by Ellis, as his Barnstable Eleven pounded and scrapped and fought all the way to a 13-7 overtime win in the heart of the City of Everett.
Yes, folks, David finally brought down the mighty Goliath. Last night marked the first time in Barnstable High School's 120-year football history that it defeated Everett High, one of the state's all-time greatest football programs.
But at the outset of this torrid, Civil War of sorts, it appeared Barnstable had met its match. The pundits, it appeared had been correct. Barnstable could not get moving against a stingy Everett offense. EMass-leading quarterback Nick Peabody went 0-10 with one interception and the Red & White had but 8 yards of rushing in the first half.
The host Crimson Tide scored first on a Jalen Felix three-yard touchdown at 1:51 of the first quarter. Everett placeckicker-safety-quarterback Gilly DeSouza split the uprights with his PAT to make it 7-0.
And the Crimson Tide would go to the lockerroom at halftime, enjoying that very lead.
But the Red and White - backed by more fans in the pristine Everett football stadium than the hosts had - were not discouraged, down or to be denied. Barnstable came out of the locker room fired up and loud. Everett's sidelines, it seemed, were calm. Too calm, perhaps.
And boy did the Barnstable defensive unit pick up on that vibe.
Led by one of the single-most impressive inside linebacking performances seen since 1995's undefeated season - the one-two combo of Ellis and counterpart Bryan Hardy - the Red Raider defense laid more plastic on the host's talented offensive squad in 22 minutes of football than American Express prints credit cards in a year.
Defensive tackle Jonathan Eldridge turned in the best performance of his football career. Defensive lineman Jason Frieh turned in yet another among countless superlative efforts. Terrence Mudie, Robbie Stuart and Ryan Litchman combined to shut down Everett's outside running game so effectively, and so electrically, that it made folks in attendance seem to forget the game was being played in a virtual monsoon.
And then, when hope seemed lost, on 4th and 1 at 10:49 of the 4th quarter, Nick Peabody dropped back, scanned the field for his receivers and completed his first pass of the game for a 35-yard touchdown strike to the gifted Dylan Morris. Mudie's PAT kick tied it at 7-7.
It was on.
Everett marched downfield, drove to the goal line and made Morris's catch seem a distant memory, but on 4th and goal on the 1-yard line, Everett's DeSouza took a high snap and it fell to the ground only to be scooped up by a jubilant BHS defense.
On its own goal line, the Red Raiders attempted one run but Murphy could not bust loose. Then Peabody completed his second pass of the night on one of the greatest catches ever seen by Red Raider fans: a backwards diving, one-handed grab by France at the 25-yard-line that was almost dream-like.
The momentum had become in one Everett turnover - all Barnstable's.
And while neither team would score again in regulation, there were just so many great plays that took the game to overtime. James Burke's 25-yard over the shoulder catch on the fly. Hayden Murphy's five, bone-crushing, whiplash-causing runs. It was truly a game to remember.
In overtime, Barnstable defended the end zone against the Everett juggernaut with inspiration drawn from every nook and cranny of those rain-soaked city streets: the fans were in an almost apoplectic frenzy... defensive coach Mike Dwyer's motivational sideline demand to "make a decision right now to be the best man on the field" ... Ellis's mind-boggling one-armed tackle in the open field, from his battered knees ...Litchman and Frieh's backfield sack of DeSouza.
And when Mudie's 4th down overtime field goal attempt just missed the wickets, as it were, he turned it around by making two fabulous stops of Everett's running attack, along with Frieh.
And you just knew it was going to happen.
Peabody dropped back looked left and right and nailed Morris a second time in the end zone to make it 13-7. The defense came back out one more time and this last time... DeSouza's pass found not a Crimson Tide pair of hands but the apt mitts of Kevin Hardy. Game over. The fans stormed the field.
And it took almost 40 minutes for any of the visitors to clear the field and head home.
The Best team around, in 2012, had finally beaten the best team around.