Central Catholic Raiders Football '18

Fri, Sep 21, 2018 07:00 PM @ North Andover
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Central Catholic 0 0 0 7 7
North Andover 0 7 0 7 14

North Andover takes historic win over Central Catholic

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Friday, September, 21 By David Willis
Staff writer

NORTH ANDOVER — With history on the line, North Andover’s Jack Walsh would not allow the ball to escape his hands.
“I went up for the ball and I took a beating,” said Walsh. “But I did everything I could to hold onto the ball. My teammate covered me up and it was just perfect.”
Central Catholic recovered a fumble with just over a minute left in regulation, and quickly scored to cut North Andover’s lead to seven points.
But Walsh was there to recover the ensuing onside kick and lock down a historic 14-7 victory for the Scarlet Knights in front of approximately 2,000 fans.
The win was the first win for North Andover over Central Catholic in football since the Eagle-Tribune began keeping complete records in 1984. The only other time the two teams met was in 2012, a Raiders victory.
“We’ve been looking forward to this since the day we found out they were on our schedule,” said Walsh. “We’ve had this circled on our calendar all offseason. I am happy for the team, the coaches and the whole community.”
After QB Jake McElroy took a final knee, the Scarlet Knights rushed the field to celebrate the win, a battle of the favorites in Merrimack Valley Conference Division 1 and Division 2.
“It’s unbelievable,” said McElroy. “They are a tough team to beat, and to get it done on our home field in front of all these fans is amazing. We knew they were coming in and it could be a big win, and we were determined to get it.”
Leading the way was a North Andover defense that allowed Central just 51 rushing yards on 20 carries and spent the entire game in the Raiders’ backfield.
Senior defensive end Mike Roche had 2.5 sacks, lineman Raphael Usuomon had two sacks and Ryan Slattery chased down the QB once. 
Walsh added an interception, and Mark Federico picked off a pass. 
“We were pushing through the line well,” said Roche. “We knew they were going to be tough. It’s a lot of fun rushing the passer and making plays. Everyone stepped up.”
North Andover’s offense wasn’t as polished as it had been in the first two weeks. But the Knights were able to deliver just enough.
In the second quarter, North Andover marched 82 yards on nine plays, and McElroy scrambled in for a 12-yard score.
The Knights added the eventual game-winning points in the fourth thanks to an 11-play, 88-yard drive that JD Allen finished with a 6-yard TD.
“We spread them out and ran read-option about 10 straight plays and they didn’t stop it,” said McElroy. “We weren’t really clicking on offense. But we did enough, And our defense was amazing. They should have had a shutout. They played an amazing game today.”
Central made it a game in the final minute, when Anthony Caggianelli scored a 6-yard TD with a minute left. 
But Walsh held onto the onside kick and clinched the win.
“I was just hoping someone got it,” said Roche. “And Walshy got it. He had a great game. It was awesome.
“This feels great. We did it at home, and this means a lot. We knew it would be a tough game. We were pumped, and we got it done.”

Game Statistics:


Second Quarter

NA — Jake McElroy 12 run (Gabe DeSouza kick), 7:12

Fourth Quarter

NA — JD Allen 6 run (DeSouza kick), 9:02

CC — Anthony Caggianelli 5 run (Nick Mazzie kick), 1:00  



RUSHING: North Andover (38-165)  — Jake McElroy 11-62, Darren Watson 10-44, JD Allen 11-38, MIke Difo 6-21; Central Catholic (20-51) — Mark Kassis 3-26, Anthony Caggianelli 7-17, Michael LeFebre 1-8, Matt Shaw 1-1, Jared Silverio 8-(-1)

PASSING: North Andover — McElroy 6-14-0, 42; Central Catholic — Silverio 10-21-2, 126

RECEIVING: North Andover — Gabe DeSouza 4-26, Allen 1-12, Watson 1-4; Central Catholic — Jermaine Wiggins 2-44, Caggianelli 2-33, Nate Hebert 2-19, Justin Carson 1-14, Nick Donatio 2-11, Kassis 1-5

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