ANDOVER — When asked about Andover linebacker Will Eikenberry, BC High head coach Joe Gaff considered his words for a moment.
“That kid — No. 2 — is very, very good,” said the coach.
Eikenberry and his No. 2 jersey were all over the field, making tackle after tackle and turning in the interception return for a touchdown to send the game into overtime.
But despite the linebacker’s heroics, the Golden Warriors could not make it two thrilling victories in two weeks, struggling on offense on the way to a 16-10 overtime loss to the Eagles last night.
“Will played the best defensive game that I have ever seen for an Andover player,” said Warriors head coach E.J. Perry. “He was just unbelievable out there. We went toe to toe with a Catholic Conference team, but we missed a few opportunities. We need to clean up our offense.”
Eikenberry, who returned to Andover High this fall after focusing on lacrosse at Brewster Academy as a junior, was simply a monster throughout the contest.
The senior linebacker turned in a team-high 16 tackles, caused three fumbles, recovered another fumble and snatched the interception and returned it for the Warriors’ lone TD of the day.
“Will is truly one of the best players in the state,” said Perry. “I couldn’t believe how well he played. He almost willed us to a victory making all those tackles and the interception in a time we really needed it.”
In the first quarter, with BC High driving to the Andover 15-yard line, fellow linebacker John Oteri knocked the ball loose and Eikenberry was the man on the spot to scoop up the fumble and end the drive.
The Eagles threatened again in the second, moving to the Warrior 32. But there was Eikenberry again to jar the ball loose on a massive tackle for the fumble that was picked up by Cole Organisciak.
He saved his biggest and hardest hit of the day for late in the third when he clobbered a runner at midfield, causing gasps from fans as the ball came loose and was recovered by Thomas Perez. That eventually led to the Warriors’ first points of the game, a Ryan Payne 27-yard field goal.
But no play was more important than when he broke on a ball, picked it off and took it 45 yards up the Andover sideline for the touchdown that gave the Warriors a 10-7 lead with 4:46 left in the game.
“I thought our quarterback (Sean Holleran) was playing about a perfect game,” said Gaff. “But (Eikenberry) made a heck of a play on that interception.”
That, however, was as good as it would get for Andover.
Following the Eikenberry score, BC High combined a long kickoff return and a Warriors personal foul to start a drive at the Andover 35-yard line. Five plays later, BC High booted a field goal to tie the game.
Andover had the ball first in overtime, but did not score. The Eagles then punched in a touchdown on third down for the victory.
The Warriors struggled to find consistency on offense, committing three turnovers and twice turning the ball over on downs. Running back Jack Sylvester did rush for 95 yards on 16 carries, but he was still noticeably slowed by the sprained ankle that kept him out of last week’s victory over North Andover.
Also impressive on defense was linebacker Brendan Slattery, who made 12 tackles and recovered an on-sides kick, and Christopher Nicholas made an interception.
“Jack played a heck of a game and the team showed tremendous heart,” said Perry. “But we have some things we need to work on.”
agateHed:B.C. High 16, Andover 10 (OT)
agateText:B.C. High (1-1): 0 7 0 3 6 — 16
agateText:Andover (1-1): 0 0 0 10 0 — 10
agateText: BC — Steve Dicienzo 6 run (Jack O’Brien kick), 5:56
agateText: A — Ryan Payne 27 field goal, 10:11
A — Will Eikenberry 45 interception return (Payne kick), 4:46
BC — O’Brien 32 field goal, 2:41
agateText: BC — Dicienzo 6 run (no conversion attempted)
agateText:RUSHING: A (36-128) — Jack Sylvester 16-95, Will Eikenberry 7-23, Oliver Eberth 12-8, E.J. Perry IV 1-2; BC (33-102) — Robert Harnais 15-62, Steve Dicienzo 7-42, Brendan Smith 7-11, Sean Holleran 4-(-13)
agateText:PASSING: A — Eberth 3-14-0, 36, Perry 1-4-1, 13; BC — Holleran 8-13-2, 114
agateText:RECEIVING: A — Alex Marshall 1-28, Christopher Nicholas 1-13, Brando Marti 1-5, Kennedy Doherty 1-3; BC — Connor Walsh 3-55, Geoff Stillman 1-31, Dicienzo 1-20, Jon Lilley 1-6, Will Johnson 1-3, Scott Gosnell 1-(-1)