EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 19, 2012

Raiders rate the slightest of edges

Grid Picks
Dave Dyer

---- — What could rank as the game of the 21st century is only two days away and it’s not getting any easier to predict who will win the Andover-Central Catholic Thanksgiving showdown.

The Warriors, of course, have a prolific offense, led by quarterback C.J. Scarpa and receivers Cam Farnham and Will Heikkinen while the Central defense, with the likes of Ryan Doherty, Santino Brancato, Ryan Barry and Ben Tavitian, has been rock solid all year.

My questions are the following: Which team will have more energy and who will play better — Andover’s defense or Central Catholic’s offense?

I have studied the Warriors’ results a bit and I saw Central Catholic twice. The Raiders’ offense has been inconsistent, but it’s been effective in the clutch.

Thus, without knowing which team will be more energized and realizing that turnovers will probably determine the outcome, I’m giving the slightest of an edge to Central.

PICK: Central Catholic 34, Andover 33

Tomorrow’s Games

Salem (0-10) at Lawrence (2-8)

Salem is certainly capable but Lawrence is busting with confidence and has the benefit of some momentum.

Prediction: Lawrence 26, Salem 19

Thursday’s Games

Greater Lawrence (7-3) at Whittier (7-3)

Whittier has more balance, but Greater Lawrence has Cristian Rivera and a better defense. Advantage Reggies.

Prediction: Gr. Lawrence 26, Whittier 20

Haverhill (8-2) at Lowell (8-2)

It would be nice if the Hillies could cap off their tremendous season with a win, but they’re a bit banged up and Lowell has a bit more to play for.

Prediction: Lowell 39, Haverhill 26

Masconomet (8-2) at North Andover (4-5)

Even with Casey Walsh at quarterback, the Knights would have needed to play well to win. Now, it’s going to be even tougher.

Prediction: Masconomet 30, North Andover 28

Triton (1-9) at Pentucket (5-5)

Pentucket should be 7-3 and Triton is about as good as its record.

Prediction: Pentucket 27, Triton

Dracut (2-8) at Methuen (2-8)

Methuen should probably be 4-6 and has shown signs of respectability. You can’t say the same thing about Dracut.

Prediction: Methuen 33, Dracut 22

North Reading (8-1) at Lynnfield (7-2)

The Hornets should have the most emotion in this CAL/NEC showdown, but Lynnfield has been more consistent over the last half of the season.

Prediction: Lynnfield 19, North Reading 14

Georgetown (1-9) at Manchester Essex (2-8)

There have been plenty of upsets in this series and this could be another.

Prediction: Georgetown 18, Manchester Essex 13

Season record: 124-35