North Andover Scarlet Knights Football '15

Andover stops North Andover at goal line in final seconds

NORTH ANDOVER – With what felt like an entire team piled on top of him, Andover linebacker Arman Koul could hear the fans explode into thunderous applause.

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Football, 06/25/16 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Samuelman, Knights steamroll Masco

NORTH ANDOVER — Once the MIAA massaged the matchups in the non-playoff side of things for this week in high school football, North Andover football coach John Dubzinski had no buttons to push.
His Knights drew Masconomet Regional, as in 40-year Thanksgiving rival Masco. As in longtime Cape Ann League nemesis Masconomet.
Yeah, North Andover would be up for this one.
"They're still a rival, it's a huge one," said Knights' senior Joe Samuelman, the bell-cow in North Andover's 313-yard rushing attack Friday night, leading his team over Masco, 20-8, before about 600 fans at Walsh Field.
"To get the win over our (former) Thanksgiving rival, even thought it's not on Thanksgiving, still means an awful lot. It was very emotional. It means a lot to walk out of here on Friday night at Walsh Stadium for the last time with a victory."
Samuelman set the tone for the Knights' night quickly. bursting off right tackle for 89 yards and the opening score. The former fourth-stringer would go on to carry 22 times in all for 192 yards and all 20 of the North Andover points (3 TDs, 1 2-point rush) in the win.
With next week's game tentatively slated at Lincoln-Sudbury and Thanksgiving morning's tussle with Andover, Samuelman now has a shot at a 1,000-yard season, having piled up 838 yards on 104 carries so far.
Still, Masco came to play, and when the Chieftains punched in with Declan Judge's two-yard dive and a conversion pass to Jason Slattery, these teams went to the half at 14-8.
Work had to be done in the Knights' locker-room. Masco bull Scott Foden had dominated the first half with 105 yards on 14 carries.
"We changed our reads, pulled the safeties up and got more guys in the box to defeat their run," said Samuelman, an assassin at linebacker all night long.
Foden just couldn't get it going with all that attention and managed just 12 yards on six carries after the break.
"Our defense did a great job," said Dubzinski. "Both teams came to play, and it was just a classic, physical high school game. Honestly, it's what I expected.
"I'm a product of high school football in Massachusetts. Having played in the Fitchburg-Leominster game, I know how big these rivalries are. You kick it up an extra notch. The rivalry kind of takes on a life of its own."
With the win, North Andover moves to 5-4, while Masco falls to 2-7.
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Football, 11/06/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Westford Academy advances with win over North Andover

WESTFORD — Westford Academy took it to North Andover 33-7 in Friday night's Division 2 North first round matchup. Senior Ben Cassidy rushed for 122 yards on the ground, while junior quarterback Connor Degenhardt threw for 153 yards and a score. The tandem powered the Grey Ghost's to a 20-point outburst in the second quarter that broke the game open. After a Cassidy touchdown, North Andover answered with a 75-yard, seven-play drive to tie the game 7-7 on a Joseph Samuelman 1-yard run. Westford reclaimed the lead early in the second when Cassidy scampered 46 yards for the first of his three touchdowns on the night. The score came with 8:05 remaining in the half, and the Grey Ghosts never looked back. The Scarlet Knights struggled to sustain drives, as they were only one-for-eight converting on third downs. North Andover moved the ball the best when they gave it to Samuelman. "Great kid, great player," said North Andover head coach John Dubzinski on Samuelman. "He's one of the guys that we lean on heavily, and we're going to continue to do that until the end of the season." Samuelman rushed for 112 yards on the night and was in on 12 tackles. He constantly broke through the Westford offensive line and was in on nearly all of North Andover's five tackles for loss. Unfortuantely, North Andover couldn't stop shooting itself in the foot. Over the 44 minutes of football, North Andover committed 14 penalties for a total of 140 yards. These penalties helped to give Westford great field position on multiple drives, and put the Knights in difficult third down situations. One of North Andover's many block in the back penalties negated what would have been a touchdown catch and run by Thomas Regan. Though the loss eliminates North Andover from the playoffs, the Knights' season will continue, and coach Dubzinski knows there is still work to do. "The season's not over yet. We got three games left with a great group of seniors, and we're going to get geared up for these last three," said Dubzinski. "We told the guys that we want to win November."   

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Football, 10/30/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Samuelman’s heroics lift Knights to victory over Lawrence

NORTH ANDOVER — Clinging on to a 28-23 lead, North Andover found itself backed into its own end zone with Lawrence driving for the lead. The Lancers had just converted two long fourth downs, and now one more play would give the Lancers an incredible comeback win. But then Joe Samuelman stepped in front of the ball for the interception, and just like that, the game was over. With five starters out, including key playmakers Jukka Morales and Ryan Good, the Knights needed Samuelman to do it all, and their senior tri-captain came through. Samuelman finished with 118 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries while grabbing two interceptions at linebacker, including the game-winner with 27 seconds to play. "It was an All-Scholastic performance," said North Andover coach John Dubzinski. "On offense he ran the ball great, on defense he was all over the field, he was just a menace to their offense." The win all but assures that North Andover (4-3) will qualify for the Division 2 North playoffs, while handing a major setback to the Lancers (3-4). The Knight's opening round opponent will be announced later this weekend. The Knights completely stuffed Lawrence's run game, holding the Lancers to negative 33 yards overall, but the Lancers proved resilient in other areas, returning two kickoffs for touchdowns while recovering a pair of North Andover fumbles. The first kickoff return came on the game's opening play, when Darryl Munoz went 85 yards to the house to put Lawrence up 7-0. North Andover came back with a 2-yard touchdown from Samuelman later in the quarter, but the Lancers blocked the kick to maintain a 7-6 lead. North Andover quarterback Seamus Lambert rushed for a 29-yard touchdown midway though the second to briefly take a 12-7 lead, but after Lawrence stripped a North Andover player near their own end zone two possessions later, QB Ismael Jenkins found Angel Abreu for a 5-yard score to make it 14-12. The Scarlet Knights grabbed the lead again in the third quarter after Samuelman rushed for another 2-yard score, which he followed with a 2-point conversion to make it 20-14. The Knights extended that lead early in the fourth when Lambert hit Thomas Regan, who deftly juked a defender for a 54-yard touchdown. It was 28-14 and North Andover's game to lose, but then Lawrence responded with a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown courtesy of Abreu, and just like that, it was all wide open again. Lawrence stopped North Andover on third and short to force a punt with 2:04 to play. A bad snap dribbled out of the back of the end zone for a safety, meaning Lawrence would have a chance to drive for the win. Lawrence returned the kickoff past midfield to start off with great field position, but then a sack and an intentional grounding penalty pushed the Lancers into a 3rd and 20 situation. Needing a conversion, Jenkins went to receiver Luis Crispin, who rewarded him with a 14-yard completion and then a 9-yarder on fourth down to keep the drive alive. Then, facing 4th and 10, Crispin saved his team again with a diving catch out of bounds to set up a 1st and goal from the 10, winner-take-all scenario. "If they scored the game would be over, because we had no time," Dubzinski said. "They did great with clock management, they made great plays and we were very fortunate that Joe was in the right place at the right time." The late interception was the latest in a series of setbacks for the snake-bitten Lancers, who will now need a lot of help to qualify for the playoffs. "This team is pretty resilient, it's been like that all year, things just haven't fallen our way this year," Lawrence coach Mike Yameen said. "Hopefully we'll get a second chance, we have to hope a couple of teams knock each other off."

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Football, 10/23/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Denose heroics save Methuen

METHUEN — Both the Methuen and North Andover punters got the night off Friday. And so, for that matter, did both defenses, at least for much of the 44 minutes of play. But the offenses were in overdrive, combining for a whopping 918 total yards, led by a stupendous performance by Methuen quarterback Kendrick Denose. With North Andover standouts Jukka Morales and Ryan Good knocked out of the game with injuries in the fourth quarter, Denose was the last star standing and the difference in a huge 35-34 Merrimack Valley Conference win for the resurgent Rangers. With the victory, Methuen improved to 3-3, including 3-1 in the MVC. The Rangers are right in the playoff hunt pending a visit next week from Haverhill (also 3-3, 3-1). Denose finished a spectacular night with 259 yards rushing on 29 carries, caught a throwback pass for 28 yards and completed 3 of 4 passes for 36 yards, thus accounting for 323 total yards. “It’s about time people start recognizing what a great player he is,” said Methuen coach Tommy Ryan. “This has to go down as one of the all-time performances in Methuen history.” One of Denose’s shorter runs was one of his most important when, late in the game, he scrambled for 11 yards to secure the final first down and deny the Knights a last gasp at coming back again. The Knights had already come back once. Trailing 35-28 in the fourth quarter, with Morales and Good both out of the lineup, Seamus Lambert connected with Connor Walsh on a 70-yard bomb to bring North Andover within one point with 2:11 to play. The Knights then elected to go for two points, but Bryce Smith and Trevor Abdallah combined to bring down Joe Samuelman to preserve the one-point lead. “I would have gone for two at that point, too, because they couldn’t stop us,” said Ryan. “We kind of gambled on defense and it worked out.” Until that run, Samuelman had been one of several pretty much unstoppable backs, rushing for 143 yards on seven carries and scoring on runs of 58 and 74 yards. Only the performance of Morales could top that for the Knights (3-3, 1-3). Morales scored on a 73-yard run on the very first offensive play of the game and, on North Andover’s next possession, went 54 yards for a TD on his second carry. He finished with 185 yards on just seven carries before going down with a hamstring injury on the final play of the third quarter. His status for next week is uncertain. For Methuen, Brian McAndrew complemented Denose with 110 yards rushing on 22 carries and he helped the Rangers run out the clock in the final two minutes. “This was one of the best wins I’ve had here,” said Ryan. “But if we play defense like that, we’re not going to win many more games. We’ve got to do better than that.” The same sentiment is probably shared by North Andover.

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Football, 10/17/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

North Andover burned by big plays in loss to Billerica

NORTH ANDOVER - When the floodgates opened early, North Andover proved powerless to stop it, as Billerica rode a 29-point second quarter to a convincing 42-13 win over the Scarlet Knights Friday night.
Billerica (5-0) set the tone early, driving 77 yards in five plays before scoring on a 9-yard run by Drew Laundry.
North Andover (3-2) stuffed the conversion attempt, and on the ensuing drive, the Knights moved the ball well enough before stalling at midfield. The Knights forced a turnover on downs on Billerica's next possession to keep it a 6-0 game at the end of the first, but then things started going south in a hurry.
Billerica scored four touchdowns in the second quarter, with all four coming within the first four plays of each drive, and all four coming on big plays.
The first came on a 73-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Justin Beck to receiver Dean Brooks on the first play following a North Andover three-and-out. Beck converted the subsequent two-point conversion to make it 14-0.
North Andover punted its next drive, and Billerica came right down with four straight big runs to score again, with Laundry scoring again on a 29-yard run.
On the ensuing kickoff, Billerica attempted and recovered an onside kick, but the ball was ruled out of bounds before the receiver had it.
It ultimately wouldn't matter because, on the next play, Billerica forced a fumble and recovered, and then two plays after that, Beck hit receiver Jeff Trainor for a 19-yard touchdown pass to all but put the game out of reach.
Billerica scored one last time on a 38-yard touchdown from Beck to receiver Gus Gobiel, which made it 35-0 going into halftime. At that point, North Andover coach John Dubinski said his message to the team was simple - just keep playing.
"We talked in the locker room and said we have to create short term, attainable goals," Dubinski said. "We said we need to win the third quarter, we need guys to have a good attitude, we don't want guys who are going to quit on us, and they responded pretty well."
North Andover played much better in the second half, though Billerica sat many of its starters from that point on. The Knights got on the board late in the third quarter after quarterback Seamus Lambert rushed for an 11-yard touchdown, and after Billerica scored following a 17-play drive that soaked up 8:30 of game clock, the Knights got one last score as time expired on a 12-yard TD pass from Lambert to Chris Miller.

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Football, 10/09/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Samuelman scores four times in North Andover victory

A wet and sloppy night in Dracut called for an emphasis on the running game; much to the delight of North Andover running back Joseph Samuelman. Samuelman played a massive role in North Andover's (3-1) 37-0 win over Dracut (0-4).

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Football, 10/02/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Samuelman scores four times in North Andover victory

A wet and sloppy night in Dracut called for an emphasis on the running game; much to the delight of North Andover running back Joseph Samuelman. Samuelman played a massive role in North Andover's (3-1) 37-0 win over Dracut (0-4).

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Football, 10/02/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

With Good out, Haverhill steamrolls Knights

HAVERHILL — Two North Andover High football teams hit the turf at Trinity Stadium here last night:
One led by senior Ryan Good, bursting to a 14-0 early lead.
The other severely missing the fullback/linebacker.
Good's exit in the second quarter with a knee injury sparked a furious rally from host Haverhill High, which ran off 35 straight points to steamroll the Knights, 35-14, and rise from the ranks of the winless.
Off to an 0-2 start and  trailing 14-0 on your home field in your league opener. Could things have been worse for Haverhill?
"We were trapped and we knew it," said Hillies coach Tim O'Connor. "We knew we couldn't go to 0-3. There's nothing more dangerous than a trapped rat. We held them accountable. And we righted the ship."
The Hillies did what they do best. Fight.
Defensively, O'Connor's gang simply filled all the gaps and wouldn't allow the chains to move.
A North Andover offense that rolled up 197 yards on its first 19 plays — with Good in the game — was limited to 45 yards on the 19 plays without him.
"I'm not one to make excuses for injuries, but losing Ryan Good was just a massive blow," said first-year North Andover High coach John Dubzinski. "To lose a kid like that, losing your best player like that ... you just become a different team."
Good (11 carries, 90 yards) and Jukka Morales ignited the Knight faithful in the place with early TD runs of 22 and 43 yards, respectively.
But Haverhill has a big-play threat or two on its side, too.
And the Hillies clawed back on the legs, not the arm, of junior QB Broghean McGovern.
Pulling the rock from Pedro Santiago on a read-option handoff, the 6-5 McGovern burst 75 yards, nearly untouched to slice the margin in half, 14-7, midway through the second quarter.
Santiago was next, picking off a pass to put the Hillies in business again at their own 40 with 5:38 left before the half.
McGovern hit Navin Cruz on a key 35-yard hookup to the Knights' 16 then scrambled to the 10.
It took Santiago a pair of runs to make it 14-13 heading to the half.
The bad news for the Knights, Good wasn't coming back, and Haverhill had no sympathy.
Santiago (21 carries, 119 yards) put the Hillies on top with his second score, a 16-yard dash up the gut. McGovern rolled and zipped a strike to Luc Chretien for the two, making it 21-14.
Minutes later, McGovern tossed his second TD pass of the year, to Santiago, who made a nice sliding catch.
"(Good) is an incredible player, and I knew he was going to bring it," said the junior Santiago. "I knew I had to bring it harder than him, and it showed."
By this time, the Haverhill defense smelled blood and finished the deal with a four-and-out. Chretien closed out the scoring with a 14-yard run, again right up the middle to end it.

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Football, 09/25/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Morales, Knights rally past Woburn

NORTH ANDOVER — As far as Jukka Morales was concerned, there was no sense in even running the play because the North Andover junior figured he already knew the outcome.

"I saw victory right there," Morales said when asked what he saw when he lined up wide to the left less than a minute into the final quarter. "I knew it was going to be a touchdown as soon as (quarterback Seamus Lambert) said 'hut.' "

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Football, 09/11/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars