By David Willis
---- — The good news for Andover football is that the Golden Warriors will have another shot at archrival Central Catholic in their traditional Thanksgiving Day showdown.
The bad news for the Warriors is that Round 1 of the match-up did not finish so well.
Taking on their Turkey Day rivals in a non-holiday match-up for the first time in 41 years, due to the postseason realignment, the Golden Warriors struggled with offensive consistency last Friday, falling to Central Catholic, the No. 8 team in Eastern Mass., 26-7..
The game started in promising fashion for the Warrior defense.
Andover limited Central to a 3-and-out on its first possession, then halted a Raiders drive to the Golden Warrior 19 when Ben Hartford and Ommel Bonilla combined for a sack on third down and Christopher Nicholas picked off a pass in the end zone on fourth.
Andover frustrated Central QB Mike Milano, limiting him to 5 of 19 passing on the night.
After the Raiders took a 7-0 lead, Andover managed a 14-play drive to the Central 25-yard line, only to be turned away on fourth down. The Warriors also turned the ball over on downs in their next quality drive, advancing to the Central 27-yard line early in the fourth.
Andover did break onto the scoreboard in the fourth as E.J. Perry IV connected with Nicholas on a 3-yard touchdown pass. It was freshman Perry’s first TD pass.
Golden Warriors kicker Ryan Payne then booted a perfect on-sides kick that was recovered by John Oteri, but ran out of time.
Nicholas led the Andover offense, catching four passes for 42 yards, while Perry completed 7 of 15 passes for 42 yards, splitting time with Oliver Eberth, who rushed seven times for 33 yards.
Central Catholic 26, Andover 7
Central Catholic (3-1): 0 14 0 12 — 26
Andover (1-2): 0 0 0 7 — 7
CC — Markus Edmunds 5 run (Paul Karamourtopoulos kick), 10:55
CC — D’Andre Drummond-Mayrie (Karamourtopoulos kick), 0:48
CC — Cody Demers 35 pass from Mike Milano (kick failed), 10:13
CC — Mike Balsamo 23 run (kick failed), 3:38
A — Christopher Nicholas 3 pass from E.J. Perry IV (Ryan Payne kick), 1:45
RUSHING: CC — D’Andre Drummond-Mayire 13-57, Mike Milano 11-52, Mike Balsamo 7-46, Markus Edmunds 8-43, Nick Boes 1-4, Cody Demers 1-2; A — Jack Sylvester 13-39, Oliver Eberth 7-33, E.J. Perry IV 6-18, Brandon Marti 2-4, Max Grant 1-(-2)
PASSING: CC — Milano 5-19-1, 101, Boes 0-2-0; A — Eberth 2-14-1, 30, Perry 7-15-0, 41
RECEIVING: CC — Cam Manning 1-44, Demers 2-39, Ryan Etta 1-10, Balsamo 1-8; A — Christopher Nicholas 4-42, Alex Marshall 3-21, Sylvester 1-5, Marti 1-3
Up Next Who: Chelmsford (2-1) When: Friday, 7 p.m. Where: Eugene V. Lovely Field Chelmsford at a glance: QB Jack Campsmith rushed for 127 yards and three touchdowns and threw for two more scores in a win over Billerica. He has nine overall touchdowns through three games. Diminutive (5-foot-8, 170-pound) nose guard/kicker Charlie Calenda leads the defense.