By Bill Burt
---- — LAWRENCE — Central Catholic High football had a strong offense on paper heading into the 2013 season. One game into its season, that “paper” wasn’t lying.
Central exploded for four touchdowns on four first half possessions — four different players scoring — to eventually break it open at Lawrence Veterans Stadium last night, defeating Lawrence 39-27.
The Merrimack Valley Conference foes had already traded two touchdowns apiece only a minute into the second quarter — the score was tied at 13-13 — before Central added two more second quarter scores to make it a rout, eventually going ahead 39-13 through three quarters.
Central rushed for 225 yards on 34 carries with senior D’Andre Drummond-Mayrie getting 101 of those yards on 11 carries. Junior quarterback Mike Milano was near-perfect, completing 10 of 11 passes for 104 yards.
“We have some weapons, no doubt,” said Central coach Chuck Adamopoulos. “We have a lot of quality guys, with experience, who can do damage. It starts at quarterback with Milano and it goes to our running backs and receivers. It’s fun to watch.”
Defense? Not so good.
While there were many reasons to laud Central’s offense, including three touchdowns from junior Markus Edmunds (two rushing and one reception) the defense was not even close to being dominant.
Lawrence High got two easy scores in the first 12 minutes of the game, with quarterback Nelson Valerio playing target practice with some wide open receivers.
“We knew coming in that the offense was ahead of the defense,” said Adamopoulos. “It’s a little bit of a concern. We had a few missed assignments where guys were wide open. But it’s early. We definitely have some things to work on.”
Lancer Air Patrol
While Lawrence High’s defense struggled for most of the night, its offense, led by junior quarterback Valerio, who completed 14 of 23 passes for 244 yards and four TDs, can move the ball.
Of course, it helps when you have college-like receiving targets in sophomore Luis Crispin (5 catches, 111 yards) and junior Justin Rivera (4 catches, 128 yards). Both made tremendous catch-and-run plays, including Crispin’s acrobatic one-armed grab while falling down in the end zone for his second score early in the second quarter.
Edmunds loves defense
If Central were Ohio State and coach Adamopoulos had to hand out buckeyes for his players helmets, he would have delivered a few last night. Junior Markus Edmunds may have deserved the most. He was a two-way star, scoring three TDs and leading the team with a dozen tackles at middle linebacker.
“I love offense, but I really love defense,” said Edmunds. “I’ve been working on my strength and speed. I love to hit and make the tackle. We didn’t play great as a defense, but we will get better. We have too much talent.”
Demers unsung star
If not for a holding penalty away from the ball, Central senior Cody Demers had the game’s second most spectacular play outside of Crispin’s one-armed catch. He zig-zagged three different times, avoiding six would-be Lancer tacklers on a 13-yard score. He also had an interception and 80 return yards.
agateHed:Central Catholic 39, Lawrence 27
agateText:Lawrence (0-1): 6 7 0 14 — 27
agateText:Central Catholic (1-0): 13 13 13 0 — 39
agateText: L—Justin Rivera 63 yard pass from Nelson Valerio, pass failed, 7:35
CC — Markus Edmunds 27 yard run, kick failed, 5:46
CC — Mike Milano 4 yard run, (Jon Panaro kick), 2:52
agateText: L — Luis Crispin 24 yard pass from Valerio, (Eddie Cabrera kick), 9:45
CC — D’Andre Drummond-Mayrie 23 yard run, (Panaro kick), 7:41
CC — Edmunds 29 yard pass from Mike Milano, kick failed, 5:34
agateText: CC — Drummond-Mayrie 6 yard run, (Panero kick), 9:34
CC — Edmunds 1 yard run, kick failed, 1:35
agateText: L — Crispin 51 yard pass from Valerio, pass failed, 6:48
L — Rivera 54 yard pass from Valerio, (Crispin conversion pass from Valerio), 1:47
agateText:RUSHING: CC (34-255) — Drummond 11-101, Milano 8-59, Edmunds 4-29, Nick Boes 5-21, Kevin Montbleau 1-10, Mike Balsalmo 2-6, Blades Shields 1-1, Cody Demers 1-0; L (22-33) — Valerio 10-22, Mikey Caban 1-5, Edison Urena 2-5, Rainer Almonte 2-2, Kenny Richards 4-1, Christian Valentin 1-(-2)
agateText:PASSING: CC — Milano 10-11-0, 104 yards, Boes 0-1-0; L — Valerio 14-23-3, 246
agateText:RECEIVING: CC — Demers 4-67, Balsalmo 3-33, Edmunds 1-29, Steven Jackson 1-16, Montbleau 1-10; L — Luis Crispin 5-111, Justin Rivera 4-128, Christian Valentin 1-6, Edison Urena 1-3, Rainer Almonte 2-0, Kenny Richards 1-(-2)