By David Willis
TEWKSBURY — Cam Farnham and the rest of the Andover players and fans held their collective breath as officials dug through he pile to find the potentially game-deciding loose ball.
“My heart stopped,” said Farnham. “I saw the Tewksbury crowd go crazy and just thought, ‘This can’t be happening.’ Then I saw (Andrew) Deloury come out of the pile with the ball and it was just the best feeling.”
With a minute left in the game and Andover leading by just a point, Tewksbury booted a wobbly on-sides kick that bounced off players in both jerseys before it disappeared into a pile of players.
Finally, Deloury emerged with possession of the football, signalling Andover first-down, and the Golden Warriors tacked on a final touchdown to take a 51-42 thriller yesterday in a day that saw the two teams combine for a stunning 1,001 yards of total offense.
“That on-sides kick was a really confusing play,” said Deloury. “The ball wasn’t going 10 yards, so I wasn’t sure if I should go get it. Then it bounced off a few guys and went into my hands. It was such a relief. Then we knew we had the game.”
It was only appropriate that the final play ended up in Deloury’s hands, because the senior receiver came up with a tremendous day.
Deloury finished with seven catches for a whopping 226 yard. He caught a 32-yard score with a tremendous one-handed catch, and his 78-yard catch-and-run set up another score.
“Deloury made about 10 huge plays today,” said Andover coach E.J. Perry. “That one-handed catch was special. Everything he did was tremendous today.”
The 226 yards for Deloury — whose previous career-high was just 56 yards — marked the biggest receiving day for an area player this season, passing teammate Will Heikkinen against Gloucester (202). The next highest in the region this season is 160 yards for Salem’s Jacob Poore.
Deloury’s performance prompted one local coach to comment, “Wow, who is No. 22?”
“I knew I would be seeing the ball a little more,” said Deloury. “But it was really just the plays we have been running. (C.J.) Scarpa was amazing again.”
It was another tremendous day for Scarpa, who completed 17 of 24 passes for a career-high 382 yards and three touchdown passes, while rushing for two more scores. That passed his 315 yards against Gloucester for the region’s top performance this season, and he now has an area-best 1,386 yards through the air.
His most important score came with 1:45 left in the game, when he hit Farnham on a 16-yard score.
“C.J. came over to me and said, ‘We’re going to clear out the (left side) of the field and throw it to you,’” said Farnham. “I caught the speed-out and there were two guys on me. I tried to make them miss and just barely got in.”
When they weren’t passing the ball, Andover was gashing Tewksbury on the ground. Jack Sylvester carried 20 times for 202 yards and two touchdowns, including the 49-yard scoring jaunt with nine seconds left that clinched the victory.
“I was excited for the responsibility,” said Sylvester. “I love getting the ball and I just run my tail off.”
The Golden Warriors needed all the offense they could muster. They were without star linebacker Mark Zavrl, who suffered a torn ACL last week, and during the game lost standout linebackers Jake Flaherty and John Oteri to shoulder injuries.
“Zavrl is the leader of our defense and it made it even tougher with the two shoulder injuries,” said Deloury. “But we pulled together and got the win.”
Andover 51, Tewksbury 42
Andover (5-0): 15 6 16 14 — 51
Tewksbury (2-3): 14 6 6 16 — 42
T — Kevin Dick 28 pass from Johnny Aylward (James Sullivan rush), 6:03
A — Cam Davey 45 pass from C.J. Scarpa (Scarpa run), 5:18
T — Dick 59 pass from Aylward (rush failed), 3:32
A — Jack Sylvester 9 run (Sylvester kick), 2:05
A — Andrew Deloury 32 pass from Scarpa (pass failed), 10:04
T — Eddie Matovu 1 run (rush failed), 2:21
A — Scarpa 1 run (Will Heikkinen pass from Scarpa), 8:07
T — Matovu 18 run (pass failed), 3:00
A — Scarpa 3 run (Cam Farnham pass from Scarpa), 2:28
T — Dick 18 pass from Aylward (Aylward run), 10:12
A — Farnham 16 run from Scarpa (pass failed), 1:45
T — Aylward 1 run (Tim Sughrue pass from Aylward), 1:01
A — Sylvester 49 run (Scarpa run), 0:09
RUSHING: A (25-206) — Jack Sylvester 20-202, C.J. Scarpa 5-4; T (46-250) — Johnny Aylward 18-97, James Sullivan 12-69, Eddie Matovu 11-58, Tom Casey 5-26
PASSING: A — Scarpa 17-24-1, 382; T — Aylward 10-15-0, 163
RECEIVING: Andrew Deloury 7-226, Will Heikkinen 6-78, Cam Davey 2-54, Cam Farnham 2-24; T — Kevin Dick 7-139, Matovu 2-22, Nick Harvey 1-2
David Willis is a sportswriter/videographer for The Eagle-Tribune. You can see his video profiles at eagletribunetribune.com/sports