NORTH ANDOVER — North Andover’s defense fell victim to Masconomet’s big-play offense, which started small and then exploded with two long touchdowns in the second half.
By the end of the third quarter, Masconomet (9-2) ran out to a five-touchdown lead thanks to a pair of short TD runs, an interception return, and big-play scores by air and ground. The CAL/NEC I champions cruised to a 35-14 win at Joe Walsh Stadium.
North Andover finally got on the board in the fourth quarter when its star running back, senior Nick Oswald, scored a pair of late-game touchdowns.
“We were overmatched today,” said North Andover head coach John Rafferty. “They (Masconomet) got the job done and we wish them success in the playoffs.”
The Knights (4-6 during its first MVC season) did an admirable job moving the ball under the direction of second-string quarterback Matt Driscoll. He was thrust into action in the absence of star junior Casey Walsh (1,358 passing yards, 13 TD passes), who sat out for disciplinary reasons.
Driscoll and the Knights had impressive marches throughout the game but were snakebitten by a pair of interceptions and some key fourth-down stops.
Driscoll, who started as North Andover’s JV quarterback this season, was impressive in his first varsity start. Although he did allow two picks, the freshman signal caller completed 8 of 10 for 153 yards.
“Matt did a great job today,” said Rafferty. “That is a lot of pressure to have to come into a situation like that and he handled it well. He runs the system and we had all the confidence in him.”
That confidence was tested early as North Andover took the opening drive and used Oswald on seven straight rushes to place the ball on the Masconomet 23 where an interception squelched the drive.