North Andover Scarlet Knights Football '06

Fri, Oct 06, 2006 07:00 PM @ Triton
Team Final
North Andover 14
Triton 9
Triton's Ben Ferrara picks up yardage against North Andover last night in Byfield. » Bryan Eaton, Staff Photographer

North Andover sacks Triton

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Monday, August, 27 By Bob Albright
Staff writer

BYFIELD -- Triton was able to stem the tide for the first 22 minutes last night in chilly Byfield, but ultimately the hosts had no answers for either North Andover's running game or its relentless pass rush as the Vikes fell to the Knights, 14-9.

North Andover tailback Andrew Foote (129 yards, 2 TDs) took his first touch of the final half 56 yards, breaking no fewer than five tackles along the way, to erase a 9-7 Triton lead and that was the difference.

"I thought we just could never get into any rhythm in that second half," said Triton coach Shawn McElligott.

A big reason for that was NA's blitzing defense that kept Triton QB Matt Emerzian on his back most of the second half after a fairly productive first half throwing the ball. North Andover linebacker Conor Tierney had two second half sacks, the first of which knocked Emerzian out of the game for a play. With Triton mounting a last ditch drive in the final minutes, John Gikas' wicked hit on the QB led to an incompletion and a Triton punt.

"We made a decision at the half that we had to go after him," said NA coach John Rafferty of Emerzian who completed seven passes for 58 yards. "We needed to do something to slow them down."

It's safe to say that the game did not start the way the North Andover coaching staff had drawn it up on the bus ride up to Byfield. On the Knights' very first play from scrimmage, QB Rich Sippel hooked up with Foote on a three-yard pass play, but the ball squirted free with Triton's Jared Wells there to scoop up the fumble.

Taking over on the North Andover 39, Triton (2-3) marched down to the seven on eight plays, but then stalled leaving Ben Ferrara staring at a 24-yard field goal attempt.

The senior split the uprights for the unconventional -- at least by CAL standards -- score to give Triton an early 3-0 lead.

North Andover (2-3) would then have the ball for just two plays on its next possession as Sippel's pass up the middle was picked off by Ferrara who returned it all the way to the North Andover 30. An offensive pass interference call would wipe out a second Triton score, however, and effectively end the drive for Triton.

The Knights' offense got going on their third possession as Foote and fullback Matt Burckhardt ripped off consecutive runs of 20 and 13 yards, respectively, to ignite a nine-play, 85-yard drive which was capped when Foote took a hand-off off right tackle at the 17 and broke for daylight to his left and sprinted in for the score.

Burckhardt would finish with 75 yards on the night and combined with Foote it proved to be a 1-2 punch that KO'd the Vikes in the second half.

"I thought Matt ran well," said Rafferty. "Everyone in the world knows we're going to give it to Foote so we have to mix it up and Matt came up with some nice runs too."

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