Andover Golden Warriors Football '07

Thu, Nov 22, 2007 10:30 AM @ Central Catholic
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Andover 10 0 0 0 10
Central Catholic 0 7 0 0 7

Defense dominates as Andover squeaks past Central

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Andover 10, Central Catholic 7 » Roger Darrigrand, Staff PhotographerMore photos

Thursday, November, 22 By David Willis
Staff writer

LAWRENCE | Andover senior linebacker Tripp Stevens took one last long look at the scoreboard as the power was being turned off and chuckled.

"Unbelievable," he said with a smile from ear to ear. "Our offense is usually in control of the game. But today it was the defense that took control. We did what we had to do."

Facing uncharacteristic offensive struggles, the Golden Warrior defense stepped up in the clutch and led Andover to a 10-7 victory over Central Catholic yesterday morning.

It was the second straight Thanksgiving Day victory and third in four years for the Golden Warriors. The Raiders still lead the overall Thanksgiving series 18-16-1.

"If you had told me the final score would be 10-7, I would have said no way," said Andover linebacker Sam Clark. "But we just took over."

The Golden Warriors struck for scores on their first two drives to take a 10-0 lead on a field goal and touchdown pass by Mike Pierce.

But Central's defense shut Andover down from there. The Raiders allowed only two more first downs for the game, and none in the second half.

"I thought we played very, very tough," said Central Catholic fullback/linebacker Mike Leavitt. "They are the best offense we played all year, and I am very proud of how our defense played."

But Andover's defense | in a bend-but-don't-break sort of way | stepped up after allowing a touchdown on the second play of the second quarter.

On the following drive, the Raiders moved to the Golden Warriors' 12-yard line. But Stevens stopped halfback Matt Smith on third down and Peter Hanson and JonLars Carlson combined to stop Leavitt on fourth down to halt the drive.

In all, Central drove inside the Golden Warriors' 35-yard line four times after their score. And four times the Raiders were turned away with no points.

"We realized Leavitt was going to the weak side," said Andover defensive lineman Andrew Lebowitz. "So we stunted weak a lot and it worked. And our coverage did really well."

Stevens and Clark, the two inside linebackers, paced the defense. Stevens led the way with a whopping 14 tackles, finishing the season with 63, and sacked Central QB Shain Jowett. Clark added 10, finishing with a team-best 71. Also standing out were defensive backs Brendan Hughes (8 tackles) and Kevin Hitchko (5 tackles) and linebacker Chris Abreu (7 tackles)

The Central defense was nearly as good, holding Andover to only 30 offensive plays while Central was able to run 64. Matt LaFrance had four tackles and a sack while Andrew McCarthy and Michael Garcia each had five tackles for the Raiders.

Despite being held to only 87 yards passing on five completions, both season lows, Pierce still managed to make history a few times.

On the first possession of the game, Pierce booted a 38-yard field goal. The kick gave him seven field goals for the season, setting the modern single-season Andover record. Ken Masse kicked six in 2004, the most since the Eagle-Tribune began keeping records in 1982.

One possession later, his game-winning 53-yard strike to Matt Rayner game him 20 touchdown passes for the season, setting another Andover single-season record, according to coach Ken Maglio. Scott Seero held the previous record with 19 in 1974. He was already Andover's all-time leading passer and holds the record for points in a season (128).

The game's other premier player, Central's Mike Leavitt, also did not disappoint. The senior rushed 29 times for 154 yards and the lone Raider touchdown. He finished the season with 936 yards and 10 touchdowns in only eight games after returning from his hamstring injury. Twin halfbacks Mike and Matt Smith finished with 28 yards apiece.

"(Leavitt) is one of the toughest guys I have ever had to face," said Clark. "It was tough today, but it was worth it. We can eat our turkey with big smiles on our faces."

1 Story Comments

0         castlenet97

Colin Burkardt set the modern day FG record last year by making 8. As reported in the 11/29/06 Tribune on the CCHS - Wayland Game: "A record kick The field goal by Burkardt to cap the third quarter drive for the Raiders was one for the record book. The 23-yard boot gave the senior eight field goals for the year, breaking a modern-day Eagle-Tribune area record (since 1984) for field goals in a season. He shared the previous mark with Pinkerton's Bryan Farris (2004) and Londonderry's Charlie MacInnis (1996). Wayland 34, Central Catholic 24"

Report! #1 11/22/2007 04:37 PM