EVERETT — Andover knew it faced a massive task against a legendary Everett program playing dominant football with a trip to the state title game on the line.
And the Crimson Tide every bit lived up to its billing on Saturday.
No. 3 seed Everett jumped out to a quick two-touchdown lead, and Cinderella No. 7 Andover could not recover as the Tide took a 62-33 victory in the Division 1 North title game.
“That is an amazing Everett team,” said Golden Warriors coach E.J. Perry III. “I’ve seen them the last three weeks in a row and they just keep getting better and better. We battled, but they are the full package and outmatched us.”
The victory completed a Merrimack Valley Conference sweep for Everett, which also beat No. 4 Haverhill (35-6) in the quarterfinals and top-seed Central Catholic (43-18) in the semifinals.
The Crimson Tide move on to the Division 1 state title game, while Andover turns its focus to Thanksgiving Day against North Andover.
In his next-to-last high school game, E.J. Perry IV did all he could to keep Andover in the game.
The Boston College-bound QB completed 19 of 40 pass for 305 yards and three touchdowns and rushed 23 times for a team-high 126 yards and Andover’s other two scores.
Joe Rockwell, Perry IV’s lifelong close friend, caught six passes for a game-best 132 yards and a touchdown. Breakout star Cedric Gillette added eight catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns.
“Andover has such an explosive offense,” said Everett head coach John DiBiaso, whose club led 62-20 at one point. “We knew we had to jump out on them fast because they can put up so many points. They are relentless. They don’t stop. They keep coming at you in waves and wear your defense out. So we had to jump out fast.”
Everett did just that, scoring only 39 seconds into play and adding a second touchdown 3:58 later.
“You can’t fall behind against Everett,” said Perry III. “They are just too powerful. You never let Everett get ahead, and it didn’t work out for us.”
Perry IV tried to start a rally by running for a touchdown in the first quarter, and after touchdown passes to Rockwell and Gillette the Warriors trailed 41-20 at halftime.
“We were hoping that maybe if we could come out in the second half and score we could get back in it,” said Perry III. “But they threw the kitchen sink at us. The kid jumped the route and they got an interception. That was really key. But our kids didn’t give up.”
Andover could find no answer for the Everett rushing game. Despite losing top back Marvens Fedna to a sprained ankle in the first quarter, the Crimson Tide rushed for 248 yards on 28 carries, an average of 8.9 yards per rush. They did the most damage in the first half, collecting 218 of those yards on 20 carries (10.9 average) to all but set the game out of reach.
The Tide also sacked Perry IV a whopping 12 times for negative 57 yards, despite the elusive Andover QB escaping numerous other near-sacks and turning them into gains.
We battled and I am so proud of the kids,” said Perry III. “Now our goal is to regroup and finish the season with a victory on Thanksgiving.”
Everett 62, Andover 33
Division 1 North final
Andover (5-5): 7 13 0 13 — 33
Everett (8-2): 27 14 14 7 — 62
Eve — Marvens Fedna 27 run (Gabe DeSouza kick), 10:21
Eve — Mike Sainristil 58 pass from Jordan McAfee (DeSouza kick), 6:23
And — E.J. Perry IV 1 run (Charlie Ziegenbein kick), 5:26
Eve — Jacob Miller 2 run (DeSouza kick), 2:40
Eve — Chris Jenkins 7 run (kick failed), 2:05
And — Joe Rockwell 10 pass from Perry IV (Ziegenbein kick), 6:54
Eve — Sainristil 60 kickoff return (R.J. Fialil rush), 6:37
Eve — Jenkins 26 run (kick failed), 1:15
And — Cedric Gillette 36 pass from Perry IV (kick failed), 0:44
Eve — Jordan Riggs 50 interception return (DeSouza kick), 10:41
Eve — Jenkins 45 rush (DeSouza kick), 6:21
Eve — Miller 11 run (DeSouza kick), 8:08
And — Gillette 18 pass from Perry IV (Ziegenbein kick), 4:59
And — Perry IV 43 run (kick failed), 4:29
RUSHING: ANDOVER (24-122) — E.J. Perry IV 23-126, Jeremy Travaglini 1-(-4); EVERETT (28-248) — Chris Jenkins 6-144, Marvens Fedna 7-62, Jacob Miller 10-69, Jordan McAfee 3-1, Brian Velez 2-2
PASSING: ANDOVER — Perry IV 19-40-4, 305; EVERETT — McAfee 8-14-0, 178; Jake Wilcox 2-2-0, 5
RECEIVING: ANDOVER — Cedric Gillette 8-110, Joe Rockwell 6-132, Travaglini 2-33, Jack Boese 1-7, John Marotta 2-23; EVERETT — Mike Sainristil 2-98, Jason Maitre 3-47, Anthony Norcia 1-15, Theo Zidor 2-18, Jean St. Vil 1-5, Gabe DeSouza 1-0