EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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September 7, 2013

Eberth, Andover win OT thriller over North Andover

Andover's Eberth throws OT touchdown to cap dramatic OT win over North Andover

NORTH ANDOVER — Oliver Eberth knew the play he wanted.

Christopher Nicholas knew the ball was coming his way.

The rest was picture perfect.

With the ball at the 7-yard line and trailing by six points in overtime, the sophomore dropped back and swung a pass to Nicholas who found the corner of the end zone for a touchdown that tied the game.

Senior kicker Ryan Payne then booted the extra point to give Andover a dramatic come-from-behind 33-32 overtime victory over rival North Andover at Walsh Stadium.

“Just amazing,” said senior Will Eikenberry. “We knew once we took it to overtime that we were going to win. We didn’t come all the way back just to lose in OT. The young kids stepped up and made some big plays and have never been more impressed than I am of Payne.”

North Andover took the ball first in overtime and grabbed the lead when Casey Walsh hit his favorite target, Bubba Shkliew on a 6-yard touchdown pass.

But the Knights elected to go for the 2-point conversion and senior lineman Ben Hartford burst through the line to sack Walsh.

“That was a big play because we knew that if we stopped that all we needed was the extra point to win and Payne was on fire,” said Hartford. “And we have gotten it done in overtime over the years.”

After being sacked on first down, QB Eberth — who did not start the game but came on in the second quarter — had an idea what would work.

“That’s my play,” he said. “I talked with our offensive coordinator (Neil Powers) and we decided to go with it,” said Eberth. “I knew I was going to throw it to Nicholas as long as he was open.”

Nicholas also knew the ball was coming his way.

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