Last night, the Warriors calmly went into North Andover, hostile as it will ever be, and came away with a gutsy, season opening win.
Andy Coke, senior superstar, put things in perspective after the Warriors’ 30-20 win.
“At this point in the season they weren’t as good as us,” said the star running back. “We still respect them as a team, but we went into this one thinking we were the better team,” Coke said.
Coke carried the ball 21 times for 130 yards and a touchdown.
faced a pair of deficits that seemed like they would spell doom for the 2011 opener. Instead, the Warriors under head coach E.J. Perry, pulled through with a character-revealing victory.
“We love the Andover, North Andover rivalry,” said Perry.
Andover overcame three turnovers in the first quarter to pull ahead and win by 10.
Star senior Brandon Walsh ran for 97 yards off nine carries for North Andover. He got the Knights on the board with a two yard, first quarter touchdown run.
Coke answered back with a two yard TD scamper of his own early in the second quarter.
Walsh continued the trend of two yard rushing touchdowns to put North Andover back in front. He set up the touchdown with a 53-yard run from the quarterback position. North Andover missed the PAT but still went up 13-7.
Andover’s Will Heikkinen caught a marvelous 35-yard catch from quarterback C.J. Scarpa late in the second quarter to give the Warriors their first lead at 14-13. Scarpa finished his day with 135 passing yards from eight completions.
Mark Zavrl added a third quarter field goal to put the Warriors up by four (17-13) going into what would be an exciting and dramatic fourth quarter.
Brandon Walsh hooked up with his younger brother Casey for a 61-yard touchdown pass with seven and a half minutes remaining.
The older Walsh, struggling from right leg injuries, dropped back and hit his streaking younger brother in stride down the right sideline.
The younger Walsh made the grab in stride for the touchdown putting the Warriors in a 20-17 hole.
“They threw a punch in the second half,” said Perry about the Knights’ surge.
Andover circled the wagons and put together a memorable play.
On the ensuing drive C.J. Scarpa tossed a 60-yard bomb to Cam Farnham to put Andover ahead for good.
“This is what Andover football is all about,” said Perry. “We come back, and we never say day, and that’s the way it’s going to be,” he continued.
Farnham had quite a night picking up 85 receiving yards off six catches; none were bigger than the fourth quarter bomb that put Andover in the driver’s seat.
Will Heikkinen picked up his second touchdown on a ten yard pass from Scarpa later in the fourth to seal the deal and set the final score at 30-20. Heikkinen had only three catches for 50 yards but with two of the three going for touchdowns, he was invaluable for Perry’s Warriors.
Andover beat North Andover for the sixth consecutive year.
Next week, the Warriors are back to work in Gloucester. The teams battle on Friday night at 7pm. Gloucester got upset in embarrassing fashion last night against Lynn English. Gloucester fell 41-0 last night ending the Fishermen’s 26 game winning streak.