By David Willis firstname.lastname@example.org The Eagle-Tribune
ANDOVER — In a battle that could prove crucial in the race for the Merrimack Valley Conference Division 1 title, Andover broke the cardinal rule of winning football.
The Golden Warriors turned the ball over, and it hurt them in a big way.
“We told the kids that the only team that can beat us was ourselves,” said Golden Warriors coach E.J. Perry. “And the turnovers cost us.”
Andover turned the ball over five times, all on fumbles, and that proved the difference in a heartbreaking 42-35 loss to MVC Division 1 rival Lowell last night.
The Golden Warriors now fall to 8-1 on the season, and 1-1 in MVC Division 1 play. They now need to win their final two games, at Billerica next week and hosting Central Catholic on Thanksgiving, for a shot at a postseason berth.
“We couldn’t get our offense going because of the fumbles,” said Perry. “It is one of those things today. Some nights you turn the ball over, and it overshadowed some big performances.”
Andover led 28-14 early in the third after C.J. Scarpa connected with Will Heikkinen on a 35-yard touchdown. But the tenacious Lowell defense beat up on the Golden Warriors from there. The Red Raiders returned one fumble nine yards for a touchdown and then took the lead on another turnover a possession later.
“We work on creating turnovers all the time in practice,” said Lowell coach John Florence. “It’s part technique and part luck, and we had both tonight.”
Playoff picture: Andover’s loss makes Central Catholic the front-runner in the MVC Division 1 race. The Raiders are 3-0 in the league, with just Andover to go. Lowell is 2-1 in the conference.
NFL pedigree; Lowell tight end Jack Galvin, the son of former Boston College star and NFL player Blake Galvin, certainly made his father proud last night. The junior caught 16 passes for 127 yards and four scores, including the winner with 1:04 left. He was the only Lowell player to catch a pass in the second half.
Receivers keep rolling: While the defense struggled and the backs battled to hold onto the ball, Andover’s star receiving duo of Cam Farnham and Will Heikkinen kept shining. Farnham caught six passes for 96 yards and two scores, including the go-ahead TD with 3:43 left. Heikkinen grabbed eight passes for 140 yards and one score, and made a terrific over-the-shoulder catch to set up Farnham’s late score.