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Central Catholic’s Kolten Williams drags down St. John’s Prep’s Carson Browne during the Division 1 semifinals on Friday.

LOWELL — After practice had ended Thursday night and coach Chuck Adamopoulos said his piece to the team, he called out to his starting four defensive backs — Kolten Williams, Justice McGrail, Ty Cannastraro, Matthias Latham — for a private meeting.

Williams, for one, had no idea what Adamopoulos wanted to chat about with the Raiders on an 8-game winning streak.

Adamopoulos brought up a game in September. The last time Central lost.

“He brought up the last time we played St. John’s Prep,” said Williams, a senior, about the loss in the second week of the season. “He said we got outplayed badly by their receivers. and that we needed to be a lot better to beat them. He was right. It was pretty bad.”

How bad was it?

St. John’s Prep quarterback Jack Perry and his favorite receiver, Jackson Delaney, had a field day in the most humiliating loss in recent memory: St. John’s Prep 49, Central Catholic 14.

Perry, whose family has big-time Merrimack Valley roots in Andover (his father is former star Andover High quarterback Tim Perry, etc.), completed 14 of 20 passes for 240 yards and a career-high six touchdown passes. Delaney had five receptions, three of them for touchdowns, and 155 yards.

“We had beaten Springfield Central the week before and we thought it was going to be easy,” recalled Williams. “We weren’t ready for that game.”

Friday night in Lowell against St. John’s Prep in the Division 1 state semifinals was a different animal altogether.

Central was more than ready, particularly the four defensive backs.

The Prep threw three interceptions, two picked off by Williams, and its passing game was basically a non-factor.

“It’s the best feeling in the world,” said Williams, who now has five “picks” on the year. “When you look over and see the sidelines going crazy, it’s an incredible adrenaline rush. and the (Central student section) Red Sea going crazy also makes you feel like you’re on top of the world.”

This time Central dominated, particularly on the back end of the defense.

“We had heart this game,” said Williams. “We came to play and it was there the entire game.”

Delaney, the Prep’s big game-breaker, didn’t get in the end zone while hauling in four passes.

“He’s really, really good,” said Williams. “We’ve played more man-to-man as the season has gone on and our communication has gotten so much better. Delaney is a tall kid, a physical kid, who can really run his route. We were on him (Friday night).”

Cannastraro had the other interception for the mighty Red Raiders defensive back room.

Williams said that meeting with Adamopoulos on Thursday put everything in perspective.

“We are a good team, but we need to focus every day,” said Williams. “We a better team now than we were at the beginning of the season. But were not done yet. We have two big games left and we will be ready for both.”

You can email Bill Burt at

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