Haverhill Hillies Football '06

Fri, Oct 06, 2006 07:00 PM @ Haverhill
Team Final
Andover 37
Haverhill 14
Andover quarterback Mike Pierce picks up yardage as Haverhill's Peter Early (22) gives chase during Andover's 37-14 win. » Carl Russo, Staff Photographer

Andover slaps first loss on Hillies

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Wednesday, August, 22 By Dave Dyer
Staff writer

HAVERHILL | Andover nose guard Joel Israel didn't want to take much credit for the Golden Warriors' crushing 37-14 defeat of previously unbeaten Haverhill before more than 1,600 fans at Haverhill Stadium last night, but head coach Ken Maglio knew better.

Israel helped cause six Haverhill fumbles in the first half, including five on the center-quarterback exchange and two that were lost, to spark Andover to a commanding 23-0 halftime lead.

The devastating loss spoiled a potential Central Catholic-Haverhill showdown next week. The Hillies' 4-0 start was their best since 1963.

"I think I had some solid contact (on the Haverhill center), but I think the whole defensive line played great," said Israel, a 5-11, 206-pound quad-captain. Maglio was more specific.

"Joel is a heck of a football player and he just beat up their center," said Maglio. "If he's not an all-conference nose guard, I don't know who is."

Andover limited Haverhill to 12 yards of offense in the first half. The Warriors only allowed the Hillies to cross midfield once. Israel was causing havoc, and end Peter Hanson, who was among a swarm that forced a safety in the second quarter, and tackle Jonathan Crush were all over the field, too.

Meanwhile, Andover (4-1) used several big plays to take its big halftime lead. Corey Steele took the opening kickoff, zoomed through a gap in the middle of the field and returned it 86 yards for a touchdown and sudden 6-0 lead.

Andover's offense couldn't keep pace with its defense, failing to gain a single first down in the first quarter, but the safety, when Haverhill quarterback Peter Byron was tackled for a 10-yard loss on an attempted pass, made it 8-0 on the third play of the second quarter. And then the Warriors' offense finally came to life.

Taking over on their own 49 following the safety, the Warriors scored six plays later, the key being a 34-yard completion from quarterback Mike Pierce to Mike Morander. Ken Masse then ran the ball twice, the final from three yards for the score, making it 15-0.

Led by Pierce, Andover marched 56 yards in nine plays for another score late in the half. Pierce had two carries for 29 yards on the drive and capped it with a 9-yard pass to Hanson. The Warriors followed that with a nifty halfback option pass from Masse to Mike Ruth for two points.

In the second quarter, Andover accounted for 132 of its 212 yards for the game.

"That was as good a half as we've played," said Maglio. "It was beautiful. The defense was great, we moved the ball and we had good special teams play."

Haverhill coach Tim Briggs saw it a little differently. "Every play starts with the center snap and we didn't execute that," said Briggs. "Our defense wasn't bad most of the half, but we gave them too much. For us to only be down 23-0 was actually an accomplishment."

Haverhill played much better in the second half, scoring on its first two possessions on short runs by Corey Gobbi (19 carries, 100 yards). The first capped an 83-yard drive highlighted by a 46-yard bomb from Byron to Andy Powell while the second was kept alive by a 26-yard strike from Byron to Peter Early.

But Andover responded with two scores of its own to sustain its comfortable lead. A 35-yard Pierce to Matt Rayner pass set up a 1-yard TD plunge by Steele, and Masse scored from eight yards out shortly after Joe Lattari intercepted a pass and returned it 15 yards.

"We had some guys, like Corey Gobbi and John Roche (tight end/linebacker) play hard and well, but not enough guys," said Briggs.

Andover, on the other hand, had more than enough.

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