By Christopher Smith
---- — WALTHAM — It didn’t appear to be North Andover’s night when Waltham quarterback Dana Parello chucked up a Hail Mary pass with time expiring before the half and Brendan Bonadio made a wide open catch in the end zone to tie the score.
That play was a precursor to a late fourth quarter North Andover collapse.
Waltham rallied for an improbable 30-28 victory over North Andover last night in the quarterfinal round of the Division 2 North football tournament.
North Andover led by a touchdown when Parello found Aidan Stanowicz in the end zone for a 33-yard TD pass with 32 seconds remaining in the contest.
But not so fast ...
Waltham kicker Randy Alay, who already was 3 for 3 on PATs, missed the kick and it appeared North Andover was going to hold on for a 28-27.
But no so fast ...
Waltham recovered an onside kick seconds later and drove into field goal position with 7 seconds left. Alay — a sophomore — got a second chance to redeem himself and he did. He nailed a 35-yarder as time ticked down to 1 second.
All Waltham had to do was kick a squib and then party like it was 1999. Yes, the Waltham sideline went bonkers while North Andover players walked to their bus like they had just seen a ghost.
North Andover, the sixth seed, was that close to knocking off No. 3 seed Waltham but it was all for naught because the Scarlet Knights couldn’t stop the big plays late.
“As far as coverage, they throw the ball in the end zone on a Hail Mary, people back there, we couldn’t make a play,” North Andover coach John Rafferty said.
“They made some big plays with throwing the ball. They weren’t running the ball. So it was as simple as, ‘OK, we’ve got to do some coverages situations, try to get some pressure on the kid (Parello), force him out of the pocket and make some errant throws.’ Which he did a little bit. But then we’ve got to cover people. That’s what DBs (are) suppose to do. They’ve got to cover people.”
Waltham 30, North Andover 28
North Andover (3-5):0 14 0 14 — 28
Waltham (5-2): 0 14 7 9 — 30
NA — Tom Stabile 3 run (Kyle Young kick), 7:11
W — Dana Parello 3 run (Randy Alay kick), 3:10
NA — Bubba Shkliew 7 run (Young kick), 1:01
W — Brendan Bonadio 49 pass from Parello (Alay kick), 0:00
W — Moses Holloway 4 pass from Parello (Alay kick), 1:40
NA — Casey Walsh 10 run (Young kick), 10:35
NA — James Foote 32 pass from Walsh (Young kick), 10:14
W — Aidan Stanowicz 33 pass from Parello (kick field), 0:32
NA — Alay 35 field goal, 0:01
RUSHING: Waltham (44-239) — Charles Terrence 2-4, Moses Holloway 1-4, Dana Parello 20-136, Carlos Ramirez 18-80, Brendan Bonadio 3-15; North Andover (30-99) — Tom Stabile 9-30, Bubba Shkliew 7-15, Casey Walsh 14-54
PASSING: Waltham — Parello 11-26-1, 199; North Andover — Walsh 11-22-1, 230 yards
RECEIVING: Waltham — Holloway 3-30, Aidan Stanowicz 4-84, Jeffrey Sutherland 1-13, Bonadio 3-72; North Andover — Shkliew 5-90, Matt Iannone 2-32, James Foote 2-36