EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

September 28, 2013

North Andover falls

NORTH ANDOVER — It’s been seven years since the Scarlet Knights opened a season with three losses. But not only does coach John Rafferty remain upbeat, he hopes his squad rebounds like it did in 2006, finishing the season by winning seven of its final eight games.

“There’s a lot to be optimistic about,” Rafferty said after North Andover dropped a 34-13 decision to Tewksbury in the Merrimack Valley Division 2 opener for both schools. “I saw a lot of these guys tonight. Things were tough and not obviously going our way. We got the short end of the stick early on ... playing a very, very good football team.

“But you know what, halftime came and halftime went. We went back on that field and battled. I’m very, very proud of them.”

For the second straight week, North Andover looked sluggish in the opening half. In those two outings, the Knights have trailed at halftime by a combined 62-0. Without leading rusher Tom Stabile, who has a muscle strain in his leg, North Andover struggled on the ground, gaining only 11 yards on 11 first-half carries and finished with 12 yards on 17 attempts.

“We’re playing a lot of young guys and have had an unbelievable amount of injuries,” said Rafferty, who watched his team accumulate two first-half first downs. “As a result we’re still learning ... We’re working hard and we’re going to be OK.”

On the positive side, one week after allowing a whopping 602 rushing yards while allowing 48 points to Beverly, the Knights limited a strong Tewksbury rushing attack to 214 yards on 38 attempts.

“That’s one week’s worth of work there,” Rafferty said. “We have some capability, but we have to do the right thing and can’t make mistakes.”

North Andover scored twice in the third period on a pair of Casey Walsh touchdown passes of 41 yards to Matt Iannone and 9 yards to Bubba Shkliew.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports

Local Sports Videos
Sports Videos
How Will Wiggins Deal Impact Potential Love Trade? Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Dareus fails conditioning test, Watkins lifts spirits Clay Travis On Mettenberger Punch & "Dumbest Fanbase" - @TheBuzzeronFOX Bowlsby talks cheating in NCAA Kluwe: How can Tony Dungy advocate felons, not Michael Sam SNC Minute: Phils lose; Lee set to return Eagles less than a week away from training camp Could Cliff Lee's health affect trade value? McCarthy and Stairs break down the Phillies' loss 105-year-old woman throws first pitch McIlroy wins British Open, Tiger finishes 69th Astros, Aiken fail to reach deal Could Rousey beat Mayweather? Can the Panthers replace Steve Smith? Will Bengals sign Dalton to long-term deal? Offseason Report: Biggest Question Marks in the AFC West Ole Miss facing increased expectations Derek Jeter Respect Ad Delivers Larry’s Notebook: Is Jimmie Johnson Behind the Curve?
Boston Sports
How Will Wiggins Deal Impact Potential Love Trade? Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Dareus fails conditioning test, Watkins lifts spirits Clay Travis On Mettenberger Punch & "Dumbest Fanbase" - @TheBuzzeronFOX Bowlsby talks cheating in NCAA Kluwe: How can Tony Dungy advocate felons, not Michael Sam Curran: Did the Patriots make a mistake by drafting Garoppolo? McAdam: Yankees pitching troubles bad news for Sox negotiations with Lester Curran: Will Pats struggle to find an identity on offense this season? Perry: Lester impressive again in Sox 6-0 win over the Royals 105-year-old woman throws first pitch McIlroy wins British Open, Tiger finishes 69th Astros, Aiken fail to reach deal Could Rousey beat Mayweather? Can the Panthers replace Steve Smith? Will Bengals sign Dalton to long-term deal? Offseason Report: Biggest Question Marks in the AFC West Ole Miss facing increased expectations Players to watch when training camp opens Bruins 1st round pick David Pastrnak signs entry level contract