By Jeff Hamrick
---- — PEABODY — Andover just missed qualifying for the Division 1 North playoffs, but that hasn’t kept the Golden Warriors from enjoying themselves in the also-ran category.
One week after posting a 29-point victory, the Warriors continued their winning ways with a convincing 35-14 victory over Peabody last night. The offensive explosion held true to season-long form which has seen Andover post at least 33 points in each of their five wins, while being held to 22 or fewer in each of their four losses.
In their two outings since being knocked out of the tournament, the Warriors have outscored opponents 74-24.
“It’s really been fun,” said freshman quarterback E.J. Perry IV, who threw a pair of touchdowns and ran for a conversion. “It was one of the great moments of my high school career, starting out on a bad note and coming back like we did. It was just a blast to get on the field and play.
“We’ve gotten back on track, and we’re starting to gel together as a team. We’re putting up the points and starting to become a good offensive team.”
That offense spent more than 9 minutes watching the defense allow the Tanners (3-6) to go 90 yards on the game’s first possession and taking the lead. But the Warriors immediately took out their frustration as Oliver Eberth went 53 yards to paydirt on Andover’s first play from scrimmage.
Warrior coach E.J. Perry decided to hold onto that momentum with an onside kick and was rewarded with Christopher Nicholas’ recovery, setting up a quick 47-yard drive that culminated on Jack Sylvester’s 5-yard run for a 14-7 advantage.
“Coach (Ryan) Nolan and (Peter) Reilly do a tremendous job with the special teams,” Perry the elder said. “Those two worked all week and we saw on the film they were vulnerable to that. We just wanted to come out and make sure we took the lead and then went after them.”
After that, Perry IV, who completed each of his first eight attempts, kept the offense purring with scoring passes of 19 yards to Nicholas and a slick 43-yarder down the sideline to Brandon Marti.
Keeping up with his younger counterpart, sophomore Eberth capped Andover’s scoring with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Doherty. Interceptions by Cam Davey and Andrew Soucy helped keep the Tanners at bay.
Andover 35, Peabody 14
Andover (5-4): 6 22 7 0 — 35
Peabody (3-6): 7 0 0 7 — 14
P — Ryan Collins 9 run (Pat Tuohy kick) 1:38
A — Oliver Eberth 53 run (run failed) 1:17
A — Jack Sylvester 5 run (Eberth pass from Sylvester) 9:47
A — Christopher Nicholas 19 pass from EJ Perry IV (kick blocked) 5:30
A — Brandon Marti 43 pass from Perry (Perry run) 2:05
A — Kenny Doherty 9 pass from Eberth (Ryan Payne kick) 6:30
P — Andrew McLaughlin 30 pass from Michael Raymond (Tuohy kick) 6:04
RUSHING: Andover (24-133) — Eberth 4-76, Sylvester 10-54, Doherty 1-5, Marti 3-3, Kevin Chen 2-0, Connor McCullough 3-(-1), Juan Quelis 1-(-4); Peabody (32-123) — Collins 10-65, Dough Santos 14-45, Raymond 6-11, Cody Wlasuk 2-2
PASSING: Andover (13-18-1 166 yards) — Perry 8-9-0, 119 yards Eberth 4-8-1, 39 yards, McCullough 1-1-0 8 yards; Peabody — Raymond 6-12-2 60 yards
RECEIVING: Andover — Doherty 4-35, Nicholas 3-42, Cam Davey 3-26, Eberth 2-20, Marti 1-43; Peabody — William Teehan 2-13, McLaughlin 1-30, Collins 1-6, Tanner Moquin 1-6, Wlasuk 1-5