There is still a week and a half until Central Catholic faces Xaverian in the Division 1 Super Bowl but, for Andover, its Super Bowl is only two days away.
The Warriors haven’t enjoyed as good a season as they would have liked, but they’re coming off a nice redemption win over Chelmsford and they played well their last few games. Beating Central on Thanksgiving would all but make their season.
With the likes of Jack Sylvester, Will Eikenberry, Oliver Eberth and freshman E.J. Perry IV, they’re certainly capable of pulling off an upset of the Super Bowl-bound Raiders.
Central, of course, can’t be blamed for looking ahead a little, and it certainly doesn’t want anyone banged up, but I think the Raiders have too much pride to just lay back without giving their best effort.
Quarterback Mike Milano is playing as well as anyone now, Cody Demers is always dangerous and Markus Edmunds is playing like a man possessed. They, and the rest of the Raiders, may struggle for a half, but I’m betting they have too much pride and talent to succumb.
The following will make Andover coach E.J. Perry, who has instructed me to pick against him, quite happy.
Prediction: Central 30, Andover 20
Whittier (6-4) at Gr. Lawrence (5-5)
It’s not easy to change your offense late in the season, as Greater Lawrence has been forced to do. That’s one edge for the Wildcats, the other being that they’re healthier than the Reggies.
Prediction: Whittier 33, Gr. Lawrence 16
Lawrence (3-7) at Salem (4-5)
Salem played extremely well in its last game, defeating playoff-bound Londonderry, and should control the clock. Lawrence is capable of ending its season on a high note, but the Lancers are too unpredictable to pick.
Prediction: Salem 27, Lawrence 20
Pentucket (7-2) at Triton (5-5)
The Sachems are probably over their heartbreaking overtime loss to Bedford, and the Vikings are missing their best running back Justin Spillane (921 rushing yards, 13 TDs). But this won’t be a romp by any means.
Prediction: Pentucket 21, Triton 14
Lowell (7-2) at Haverhill (6-4)
It’s difficult to see how the Hillies will score much against the Lowell defense.
Prediction: Lowell 21, Haverhill 7
Methuen (5-5) at Dracut (3-7)
New coach Tom Ryan and the Rangers are deserving of a winning season and they’ll get it, but it won’t be as easy as they’d like.
Prediction: Methuen 28, Dracut 16
North Andover (5-5) at Masconomet (6-4)
The Knights have been in a lot of close games this year and this will be another one.
Prediction: North Andover 27, Masconomet 24
Lynnfield (9-1) at North Reading (6-4)
The Hornets have played as well as anyone over the last month, but Lynnfield’s defense is awfully tough.
Prediction: North Reading 27, Lynnfield 26
Manchester (5-5) at Georgetown (2-8)
You’ve got to give the Royals credit for the way they battle under adverse circumstances.
Prediction: Manchester Essex 34, Georgetown 14
Season record: 132-39