By Dave Dyer
---- — NORTH ANDOVER — When all was said and done, Groton just couldn’t stop Brooks’ dynamic duo of quarterback Andrew Konovalchik and running back Chris Cervizzi yesterday afternoon.
And, as a result, the Green and White are closing in on their season goal.
“You kept playing (hard), that was a great effort,” said first-year Brooks coach Pat Foley after an exciting 22-20 overtime win. “One more game next week and we’ll reach our goal (.500).”
If Brooks (3-4) does reach .500, Kovalchick and Cervizzi will certainly have played key roles, as they did yesterday, when they were involved in every point and 95 percent of the offense.
Konovalchik, who had a terrific first half with 109 yards rushing on nine carries, finished with 137 yards rushing, 8-of-13 passing for 92 yards and a touchdown and scored the decisive points in overtime.
North Reading’s Cervizzi rushed for 138 yards on 17 carries, scored a touchdown and ran in a two-point conversion.
“It’s all (number) 11 (Konovalchik) and 39 (Cervizzi) — that’s their game,” Groton coach John Lyons shouted out to his defense on more than one occasion. “Just watch them.”
The Green and White needed every yard against a stubborn Groton squad that scored first on a 79-yard second quarter run by quarterback Arthur Jelin.
But Brooks surged back for a 14-7 halftime lead on a 17-yard Cervizzi scoring burst and a 12-yard pass from Konovalchik to Haverhill’s Coy Candelario.
Groton scored the only TD in the second half, on an 8-yard Jelin run to tie the game and stopped a last-minute Brooks drive on the 5 yard-line to set up overtime.
Groton scored first in overtime on a four-yard pass play but missed the conversion attempt, giving the ball to Brooks. Konovalchik took over on Brooks’ overtime possession, first rushing for nine yards and then — following two illegal procedures — rushing for eight and two yards to tie the score. He then plowed up the middle for the decisive two points.
“That’s a tough team and they stacked the line really well,” said Konovalchik, a senior tri-captain from North Andover who didn’t play last year. “But that was fun.”
Among those playing well on defense for Brooks was rugged linebacker Geoff Fulgione of North Andover. The Brooks defense was stellar all afternoon, giving up most of its yards on two plays.
Brooks 22, Groton 20 (OT)
Groton (2-5): 0 7 7 0 6 — 20
Brooks (3-4): 0 14 0 0 8 — 22
G — Arthur Jelin 79 run (Henry Bator kick), 7:11
Br — Chris Cervizzi 17 run (Cervizzi rush), 4:05
Br — Coy Candelario 12 pass from Andrew Konovalchik (pass failed), 0:08
G — Jelin 8 run (Bator kick), 3:47
G — Axel Brown 4 pass from Jelin (Pass failed)
Br — Konovalchik 2 run (Konovalchik rush)
RUSHING: Brooks (51-263) — Chris Cervizzi 30-128, Andrew Konovalchik 17-137, Geoff Fulgione 1-9, Coy Candelario 3-(-11); Groton (22-144) — John Beatty 11-33, Arthur Jelin 6-89, Joe Gentile 3-16, Will Richardson 2-6
PASSING: Brooks — Konovalchik 8-13-1, 92; Groton — Jelin 3-12-0, 12
RECEIVING: Brooks — Jack Hughes 1-2, Nick Konovalchik 4-23, Coy Candelario 3-67