ANDOVER — In a matchup between two fast-paced, no-huddle offenses, Central Catholic coach Chuck Adamopoulos stressed the importance of a strong defensive effort.
The Raiders responded, holding Andover to 147 total offensive yards as 10th-ranked Central Catholic defeated the No. 19 Golden Warriors, 26-7, at Lovely Field on Friday night.
“Everyone talks about the [Merrimack Valley Conference] and high scores, but we pride ourselves on our defense,” Adamopoulos said. “We’ve played pretty good defense all season. We talked to the kids a lot about pursuit angles, and I thought we did a pretty good job with that.”
Andover (1-2) relied heavily on Jack Sylvester, but the Central Catholic front seven bottled him up, holding him to 32 yards on 11 carries in the first half. Sylvester was ejected in the third quarter after receiving his second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Both offenses struggled to get going, but Central Catholic (3-1) managed a 14-0 halftime lead.
After a punt gave Central Catholic the ball at its 49, the Raiders made their way inside the 20, and D’Andre Drummond-Mayrie rushed for a 12-yard gain to get inside the 5.
Markus Edmunds pounded in a 4-yard run to put the Raiders ahead.
On the ensuing possession, the Golden Warriors faced fourth and 6 on Central Catholic’s 26 when quarterback EJ Perry was tackled for a loss to turn it over on downs.
Quarterback Mike Milano fired a 42-yard pass to Cam Manning, and a late hit on Manning brought Central Catholic to Andover’s 16.
Rushes by Drummond-Mayrie and Edmunds got the Raiders to the Andover 5, and Drummond-Mayrie capped the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run.
Milano connected with Cody Demers for a 35-yard touchdown pass to make it 20-0 in the third quarter, and on the next Central Catholic possession, Mike Balsamo rushed for a 21-yard score to make it 26-0.
Late in the fourth quarter, Andover scored when Perry hit Christopher Nicholas on a 2-yard touchdown.