Andover’s second-half surge stuns North Andover
This story is from BostonGlobe.com, the only place for complete digital access to the Globe.
ANDOVER — A 36-point second-half outburst propelled Andover to a 50-35 victory in an opener in which it faced longtime rival — and now Merrimack Valley Conference opponent — North Andover Friday night.
Scarlet Knight quarterback Casey Walsh was masterful in the first half, directing North Andover to a 28-14 advantage.
And when he hooked up with junior Mike Iannone for a 30-yard touchdown pass, the Scarlet Knights were up, 35-21, and seemingly in control.
But the fourth quarter was all Andover.
After Anthony Deloury caught a 3-yard TD pass from C.J. Scarpa on fourth down, the Golden Warrior defense forced North Andover to punt.
“That was a big play for us,” said Scarpa of his fourth-down score. “We just kept pouring it on after that. We took control of the game.”
The snap of North Andover’s punt sailed over the head of Walsh and through the back of the end zone, giving Andover a 37-25 lead.
“We decided to just blitz,” said senior captain and linebacker Mark Zavrl. “Every time. We wanted to put pressure on him [Walsh] because he was killing us.”
The Golden Warriors began mounting their comeback with a drive that took less that two minutes off the clock.
Cam Farnham capped the drive with a 20-yard touchdown from Scarpa.
The dagger came from Zavrl, who came into the game as a tailback.
Carrying a two-possession lead and with less than five minutes left, Zavrl took a handoff 72 yards for a score.
“Just trying to kill some clock,” said Zavrl. “The offensive line opened up a hole and I just hit. I barely made it but it was a good feeling seeing no one in front of you.
“Credit the line.”
Walsh had a tremendous first half for the Scarlet Knights, completing all 12 of his passes for 151 yards.
The junior, who also plays defensive back, rushed for 29 yards and two TDs in the first half.
This was North Andover’s first game in the MVC, after being a member of the Cape Ann League since 1972.
“Can’t take anything away from them,” said Scarpa of the Scarlet Knights. “They battled. We just want to set a tone for ourselves.”