Central Catholic Raiders Football '07

Central Catholic seniors: Front row, captain Mike Leavitt. Second row (from left) Edrian Mendez, Jose Polanco, Dave Kando, Mike Fillipon, Ian Camire, and Joe McCarthy. Third row (from left) Tyler Shepherd, Curtis Davis, Greg Brown, Mike Smith and Mike Schlosser. Fourth row (from left) Dan Leary, Chris Farren, Peter Gerakas, Justin Narbonne and Matt Smith. Back row (from left) Craig Janeczek, Dennis Torres, Jay Karamourtopoulos, Stephen Provost, Jeffrey Martin and Jimmy Thach. » Tim Jean, Staff PhotographerMore photos

Central, Andover have plenty to play for

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Don't try to tell Central Catholic coach Chuck Adamopoulos that his Raiders have little to play for.

"It's Andover!" exclaimed the Raider coach. "And, of course, we'd also like a 6-5 finish to the season."

Central, which hosts Andover, certainly takes on the underdog role, one it has relished in this series over recent years.

Last year, the Warriors shocked MVC champion Central, 18-10, but the Raiders remain in control overall in the holiday series at 18-15-1.

Andover, at 7-3, presents some serious problems, especially on defense.

"They have the best offense in our league, by far," said Adamopoulos. "Their receivers have speed, and (Mike) Pierce is a very good thrower. And he runs as good as he throws."

Pierce leads the region in passing yards, with 2,041, and TD passes with 19.

He has the weapons with Matt Rayner (32 catches, 576 yards) and Peter Hanson (35 catches, 438 yards).

Add in speedster Derrick Beasley to the mix and it's easy to understand how the pass-oriented Warriors are scoring an MVC-best 30.3 points a game.

"The tight end (Mike Morander) is a heck of a player, too," said Adamopoulos. "He blocks very well and can really catch the football."

So, with balmy temperatures expected on the fast FieldTurf at Veterans Stadium, how can the Raiders hang with Andover? "We have to run the ball well and control the football, keeping it out of their hands," said Adamopoulos.

There may not be a better back in the region to play ball-control with than Central senior Mike Leavitt, who has battled back from injuries to run up 782 yards on 137 carries.

With the Smith Brothers, Matt and Mike, providing the change of pace, Central will need to keep things manageable on third downs. Too often this year the Raiders have found themselves in third-and-long.

Did You Know?

Andover's Mike Pierce enters Thanksgiving as one of the region's most prolific career passers all-time with 3,694 yards. Central's Mike Leavitt, meanwhile, has 3,435 career rushing yards.

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