Jay Flannelly has always been outspoken. In 1989, he was in hot water for some inflammatory comments he made about the North Andover football team prior to its showdown with Andover.
Flannelly was a deep reserve for Andover but was the talk of the town for comments he made in The Eagle-Tribune. The paper asked readers to call in their comments on the game.
Flannelly said at the time, “I really think Andover is going to trounce North Andover. Andover has a much better line. North Andover’s line is short and fat.
“The only reason North Andover won two years ago was because of the cold weather. This time they’ll need a combination of a hurricane and a tornado.”
The only hurricane or tornado was from Andover’s legendary coach Dick Collins, who suspended Flannelly and was livid at the newspaper for printing the comments.
“Flannelly said, “Coach Collins was ready to kill me. ... Never had a benchwarmer been a bigger story.”
Star quarterback Pat Finn recalled, “Coach Collins absolutely lost it.”
The game may have been the most hyped regular-season game in area history. The Eagle-Tribune even had a sports psychologist weigh in.
He wrote of the game’s “ultraspectatorship” and that its “war minus the bullets.”
Guest columnist Jim Arnold (a former Andover High star) mocked the Andover fans in a column titled “Football like a church tea to Andoverites.”
The two teams had combined for a stunning nine shutouts. Andover was 7-1 and had won seven straight and the Knights were 8-0 coming off a huge win over Amesbury.
Would North Andover do it again like its historic 1987 Ice Bowl upset of an Andover team which featured Mike Marinaro (BC), John Perry (UNH), Devon Arsenault (Dartmouth) and Mark Duncan (URI)?
But everything went Andover’s way. Hunter Lochmann set the tone with an early block leading to a TD and NA quarterback John Gaffny broke his wrist early in the game. Mark Tucker scored four times in a 41-0 blowout before 5,000 fans in Andover.