Denzil Pierre runs wild, powers Xaverian past Everett, 32-21 – Boston Herald

WESTWOOD — Xaverian may have major college football recruits at quarterback and wide receiver, but as long as coach Al Fornaro is leading the Hawks, the thought of them abandoning the run for the pass is silly talk.

On Friday night, behind senior back Denzil Pierre, Xaverian ran to its heart’s content in a 32-21 season-opening victory over Everett.

Pierre rumbled for 204 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries, while Michigan State-bound quarterback Henry Hasselbeck rushed for three scores.

It was uneven at times, but Fornaro will take the victory over a quality opponent and move on.

“Very good,’ Fornaro said of Pierre’s play, which also included a two-point rush. “And we had the other guy, Mike O’Connor (54 yards on eight carries) play a little bit. The ability to run the ball does a lot of good things. It keeps it out of their hands. I’m not Woody (Hayes) out of Ohio State, saying three things can happen when you throw the ball, and two of them are bad, but when we wanted to, we did. I thought we dominated them in the first half. But we proved to be able to run the ball when need be.”

Pierre is a bruiser who carried defenders for extra yardage all night. He was not eligible last season because he started it with Boston English and practiced there before transferring. The Hawks are happy he’s playing now.

“Ever since I was young, ever since I got on the gridiron, I always run hard,” Pierre said. “My coaches are telling me, ‘Don’t look for the contact, just go around.’ But I love it so much. I can play any type of way, but I just thank my team because they’re allowing me to do that. They’re allowing me to play any way I want to play. So it’s just an honor to be out here, and execute how I’m supposed to execute.”

To start, Xaverian recovered a muffed kick and scored on a 1-yard Hasselbeck sneak to take a 6-0 lead less than three minutes in.

It stayed that way until the second quarter, as Pierre rushed all six plays for 39 yards, capped by a 2-yard touchdown and two-point rush as the Hawks pushed their advantage to 14-0.

Everett found some momentum on the next drive though, as Yuriel Ortiz caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Carlos Rodrigues to slice the deficit to 14-6.

But the Hawks went into the break up two scores after a Joseph MacDonald 29-yard field goal.

It felt like Xaverian would run away with after a pair of 4-yard Hasselbeck touchdown runs in the second half, but Everett kept fighting back.

First, Rodrigues hit Christian Zamor for a 33-yard touchdown pass. Then, a Jayden Prophete interception preceded a 74-yard touchdown on a double pass from Damien Lackland to Zamor, a Boston College recruit. Following a two-point pass from Rodrigues to Jaysaun Coggins, the Xaverian lead was down to just 29-21.

But the Hawks answered with a good drive, and MacDonald’s 21-yard field goal completed the scoring.

“I was hoping (the offense would be this good),” Fornaro said. “Our scrimmages weren’t the best for us. But it was really good for us to show people that you better defend everybody. As a defensive guy, that’s hard. You have to defend six guys out there: the wideouts, the tight end, the quarterback, the fullback, the running back. That’s difficult.”

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