LAWRENCE — It was the question on everyone’s mind heading into Thanksgiving Day.
Already secured a spot in the Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium in nine days, would Central Catholic play its starters in its annual holiday contest against Andover with nothing at stake but pride?
“Are you kidding, I wouldn’t miss this game for the world,” said Raiders senior D’Andre Drummond-Mayrie. “This is tradition, and our last game ever at (Lawrence) Stadium. And we remember how they beat us last year. We weren’t going to sit on the sidelines.”
Led by a dynamic performance from senior receiver/defensive back Cody Demers — who recorded 174 overall yards, two touchdowns and an interception — the Central regulars not only started, they starred, leading the Raiders to a 44-18 romp.
“You never forget Thanksgiving,” said Demers, a Dracut resident. “It’s Andover. You never want to lose to Andover, especially in my last game against them. We remember what they did to us last year (22-19 loss). We wanted to win this and take some positive energy going into the Super Bowl, and we did that.”
Demers certainly will not forget his performance yesterday.
“Cody came up huge for us,” said Raiders QB Mike Milano.
“After he got that really long run it sparked something in us that lasted the rest of the game.”
Demers gave Central the lead with a 37-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter, but it was his 80-yard touchdown run — in which he took the handoff on a speed sweep, bolted off tackle past the defense and sprinted to the end zone — that gave the Raiders the spark they needed.
“Cody is a terrific player,” said Drummond-Mayrie. “He is so elusive. I knew, right when he went around the corner, that he was gone. When he scored that long touchdown it was a huge momentum boost.”