Andover Golden Warriors Football '14

Milano, Central surge past Andover on Thanksgiving

ANDOVER — It may not have been the Super Bowl, but Mike Milano and his Central Catholic classmates couldn’t have imagined a much more perfect way to cap off their high school football careers. “It’s not just a win, it’s beating Andover,” said Milano. “And it’s beating Andover three times in one season. We wanted this so bad, to end the year and finish the entire rivalry on top. And this is about the best way I could have imagined ending the season.” Led by one last terrific performance by their All-Scholastic QB, Central Catholic made the final edition of the Central-Andover Thanksgiving Day rivalry all Raiders, closing out the 42-year tradition with a decisive 41-21 victory Thursday afternoon. “Coach A (Chuck Adamopoulos) gave us a speech before the game saying the series was tied 20-20-1,” said Milano. “So whoever won was going to be the champion of the series. So this is pretty awesome.” The victory marked the third time Central has beaten the Golden Warriors this season — also winning a regular season and playoff meeting — and fifth straight win for the Raiders over their rivals dating back to last season. “It’s so great,” said Central offensive lineman Dan MacDonald, an Andover resident. “To win over our archrivals, on the last Turkey Bowl, against my hometown school is pretty great. If we had ever lost this game it would have haunted us for the rest of our lives. We had to have it and we took it.” While Thanksgiving may no longer count in the playoff race, in final game of this series — with the Golden Warriors moving on to play North Andover and Central facing Lawrence on Turkey Day 2015 — the Raiders were determined to finish with a bang. “Thanksgiving means everything to us,” said nose guard Jorge Elias. “So for the seniors to end our high school careers with a win over Andover, in the last game of the series is amazing. We took the momentum and knew we just had to keep punching.” Milano wasted no time giving his team control. On the Raiders’ fourth play of the day, the reigning Eagle-Tribune All-Star threw a dart to receiver Steven Jackson, who sprinted into the end zone for a 50-yard touchdown. The Golden Warriors bounced back by driving inside the Raider 10-yard line, but Jorge Elias scored a sack, Robert Fitzgerald knocked down a pass and Central turned them away without points. The Raiders added a crucial score on the final play before halftime, with Mike Balsamo plunging in from 1 yard out on fourth down for a 14-0 lead. “That was a huge play,” said Elias. “That gave us a ton of momentum going into halftime and made us feel really good going into the second half.” Central handed Andover a 3-and-out to start the second half, and made it 21-0 when Milano and Jackson connected on their second score of the day, a 17-yard TD. Milano extended the lead a possession later, dumping a screen pass off to Omar Deschamps, who ran 75 yards for a score. Balsamo then did the rest, returning a kickoff back 82 yards for a touchdown, then icing the win with a 44-yard TD run, “It was a great day,” said Balsamo. “The turkey always tastes better with a win. We wanted a 3-0 record against Andover this year, and we did it. The whole team played great.” Despite losing 2013 Eagle-Tribune defensive Player of the Year Markus Edmunds before halftime with a severe gash on his arm, the Raider defense had more than enough. Pat Dziedzic won Player of the Game honors with 10 tackles, Elias had 1 1/2 sacks and six stops and Johandy Gonzalez made an interception. Milano threw for a season-best 238 yards on a sharp 11-of-18 passing, while for Andover, E.J. Perry threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns.  “It really is bittersweet,” said MacDonald. “It is bitter because it is the end of our careers and the end of the rivalry. But it is sweet because we won. I couldn’t have asked for a better ending.”

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Football, 11/27/14 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Christopher stars, but Andover loses shootout

LEXINGTON — Andover scored two fourth quarter touchdowns to cut its deficit to just one touchdown, but that was as close as the Golden Warriors could get, falling to Lexington 47-39 Saturday afternoon.

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Football, 11/15/14 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Backups help Andover run past Chelmsford

CHELMSFORD — Rebounding from a tough loss to rival Central Catholic that knocked the Warriors out of title contention, Andover didn't appear prepared for battle last night.

But once they shook off the lethargy, the Warriors displayed they had still had life in them, running away from Chelmsford in a 36-22 victory. The Warriors (6-3) also downed the Lions (4-5) 49-37 in the regular season.

With 1,000-yard rusher Kevin Chen missing his first game with a leg injury and Anthony Soucy sent to the sideline with a leg injury of his own suffered on the Warriors' first scoring drive, it was left to backups to handle Andover's rushing duties.

Anthony Christopher had his first rushing attempts of the season and finished with a team-high 57 yards on seven tries, including a 39-yard blast that set up the Warriors' second score.

But the biggest runs came from Max Grant, who had carries in only four of the first eight games. Grant provided Andover  its first lead with a 3-yard run midway through the third quarter for a 13-6 advantage.

"Coach told me I was about to get the ball and get some carries," said Grant, a senior outside linebacker who added a sack and also plays on all of Andover's special teams. "I was ready for it. It feels great.

"I had never gotten a touchdown in a varsity game. I was just thinking about the players who went down and doing it for them."

After a Jack Campsmith touchdown pass put Chelmsford back ahead by a point 2 minutes into the fourth, Andover reclaimed the advantage with a pair of three-play scoring drives of 52 and 24 yards.

E.J. Perry, who scored Andover's first touchdown of the game, hit first with a slick 40-yard run in which he cut upfield on a rollout and split linebackers before stiff arming a defensive back at the 10.

Then Grant, who capped Perry's second TD with a conversion run, added a 9-yard touchdown jaunt that Perry returned the favor with a conversion run of his own for a 29-14 lead with 7:06 remaining.

"Losing to Central was real tough in such a nail-biter (28-21), but this game was against Chelmsford, so you always have to get up for that," sophomore quarterback Perry IV said. "We started out slow. They kind of shocked us ... We were just lucky to get back into it."

Jeremy Travaglini finished off Andover's scoring with a 5-yard run with 3:24 remaining.

Defensive also had its moments, setting up the offense with several short fields. Ommel Bonilla and Terence Norton each recovered fumbles while Mike Konjoian and Zach Walker each recorded interceptions.

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Football, 11/07/14 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Central outlasts Andover for playoff win

LAWRENCE — Dan MacDonald did need any extra incentive. A playoff game against his school’s longtime archrival was more than enough motivation for the Central Catholic captain to be fired up.

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Football, 10/31/14 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Chen rushes for 284 yards, Andover locks up playoff berth

ANDOVER — One year ago, Andover found itself on the outside looking in on the new Massachusetts football playoff system, relegated to the losers bracket after a 4-3 start.

A season later, the Golden Warriors weren’t going to be left out again.

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Football, 10/24/14 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Chen, Andover erases slow start to roll over Billerica

ANDOVER — The start certainly was not what Andover High had in mind.

Facing winless Billerica, the Golden Warriors turned the ball over on downs on their first two possessions, and fell behind on a 65-yard touchdown pass.

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Football, 10/10/14 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Andover tackles frustration out on Methuen

ANDOVER — The instant the ball popped free, Kevin Chen already had his eyes on the end zone.

“There was no way I was going to dive on the fumble,” said the Andover running back/defensive back. “I knew I was going to scoop it up and score.”

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Football, 09/19/14 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

North Andover rallies for first win over Andover since 2005

ANDOVER — As Bubba Shkliew stepped off the Lovely Field turf, the North Andover star pumped his fists and looked up to the sky in joy.

“Finally!” he said.

After eight years of heartbreak at the hands of neighboring rival Andover High, North Andover finally broke through, recovering an on-sides kick in the final seconds to lock down a thrilling 20-19 victory over the Golden Warriors Friday.

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Football, 09/12/14 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Andover, Cambridge

 CAMBRIDGE — Andover rolled to a lopsided 48-0 season-opening victory over Cambridge Rindge & Latin Friday night. “It feels great to start out on the right foot,” said sophomore quarterback E.J. Perry IV. “Last year we started the season off shaky, but the defense really stepped up tonight and put that zero on the board.” Perry who split time last year with Oliver Eberth, who is now starting at St. John’s Prep, completed 15 of 27 passes for 289 yards and threw three touchdowns. Two of the scores came on big plays — a 48-yard pass to Dan Gemmell and a 69-yard strike down the middle to Juan Quelis.  “We want to throw,” said head coach E.J. Perry III. “We even missed out on a couple others that could have blown the game wide open.”  Senior Kevin Chen is taking over the ball carrying duties after spending seasons past as a defensive back. Chen had a strong debut for the Golden Warriors, rushing for 102 yards TDs of 28 and 3 yards. Perry said of his teammate, “Chen and me had two tough weeks of practice, but now we really have our tempo down and my mojo with him is great.”  The unsung heroes of the game would have to go to Andover’s offensive line. “Our line was tremendous. It starts and ends there,” said Coach Perry.  “My offensive line is really helping me out,” added Chen.  Andover’s defense was as aggressive as its offense. The Warriors forced Cambridge to a punt on all but two drives, forcing and recovering two fumbles on the remaining drives. Andover also managed to keep Cambridge’s quarterback to just one completion on ten attempts. All told, the Falcons had seven passing yards on the game.   One player who was noticeably absent from the field and the sidelines was Eagle-Tribune All-Star nose tackle Omel Bonilla. Coach Perry declined to comment. Andover will play its first home game next Friday night when it hosts North Andover. Andover 48, Cambridge 0 Andover (1-0):    8 21 13 6 — 48 Cambridge (0-1):    0  0  0 0 —  0 First Quarter  A — Kevin Chen 28 run (conversion good), 4:43 Second Quarter  A — Dan Gemmell 48 pass from E.J. Perry IV (conversion good)  A — Chen 3 run (Brian Duffy kick), 5:38  A — Gemmell 6 pass from Perry (kick fail), :52 Third Quarter  A — Juan Quelis 69 pass from Perry (Duffy kick), 6:09  A — Malique Meija 1 run (kick fail), :00 Fourth Quarter  A — QB 6 run kick fail), 3:47

ANDOVER LEADERS RUSHING (27-218): Kevin Chen 14-102, Jeremy Travaglini 4-58, E.J. Perry IV 2-15, Max Grant 2-17, Malique Meija 3-20, Aleck Chen 2-8 PASSING: Perry 15-27-3, 289 RECEIVING: Dan Gemmell 5-114, Juan Quelis 3-85, Brandon Marti 2-42, Andrew Soucy 2-16, Chen 1-8, Anthony Christopher 1-13, Alexander Marshall 1-11

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Football, 09/05/14 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars