ANDOVER — Linebacker Adam Ladd heard all of the talk.
“All the critics out there were saying our defense couldn’t hold up against a tough offense and that all our team had was an offense,” said the senior. “Well, we played our butts off on Thanksgiving and I feel like that will roll right over into the playoffs.”
Five days after their winner-take-all Thanksgiving Day victory over archrival Central Catholic, the Golden Warriors will look to prove a whole knew group of doubters wrong, with history on the line.
Tonight, the MVC Division 1 champion Golden Warriors travel down 495 to take on Catholic Conference champ St. John’s Prep in the Eastern Mass. Division 1 semifinals at Lowell’s Cawley Stadium, with the winner earning a berth in the Division 1 Super Bowl on Saturday at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.
“We know that we are the underdogs,” said receiver Cam Farnham. “But we’re fine with that. We like being the underdogs. We know we face a tough task against a very good team in the Prep. But we feel like we can play with any team in the state.”
Andover enters its second playoff appearance in three years — falling to Everett in 2010 — after not advance to the postseason since 1975, the last of three straight Super Bowl seasons.
St. John’s Prep enters the contest at 9-1 and ranked No. 4 in Eastern Mass., while the Golden Warriors stand at 10-1 and No. 10 in Eastern Mass.
“We have worked so hard to get to this point,” said linebacker Jake Flaherty. “To finally be here, in the playoffs, with a chance to go to the Super Bowl is amazing. We have to show them how tough we are, and how great a team we really are.”
While the teams have not faced one another, they are not totally foreign. Both earned victories over Central Catholic and Xaverian during the regular season, with each beating their league foe on Thanksgiving with the title on the line.