Special Feature: Homepage Story

New QB Pereira accounts for six touchdowns, Central wins thriller

LAWRENCE — No one would have blamed Ayden Pereira if his stomach was filling with butterflies.
The Central Catholic sophomore quarterback was not only making his first career varsity start, but was doing so against defending Division 3 state champion Springfield Central, which had just blown out legendary power Everett by four touchdowns a week ago.
The lights may have been bright, but Pereira wasn’t sweating the pressure.
“I didn’t doubt myself,” said the QB. “I had put in the work, my teammates had put in the work. I knew we were good for a big day.”
Pereira proved he was more than ready for primetime, throwing for three touchdowns and rushing for three more scores as Central Catholic earned a thrilling 52-42 win in its season-opener on Saturday night.
“It was a great win,” said co-captain Mark Kassis. “It was huge to score fast, and that gave us a momentum boost. And Ayden played great. He did amazing.”
Pereira finished his debut 12-of-16 throwing for 223 yards and added 73 rushing yards, leading a Raiders offense that scored on eight of their 10 possessions of the game.
After not appearing in a varsity game last fall, Pereira was faces with the challenge of replacing 2018 starting QB Jared Silverio, who transferred to BB&N in the offseason.
Was he nervous?
“I was a little nervous,” said Pereira. “But I was more excited. We had prepared so well, and I knew I was ready for it. Confidence was high. Once I got the first touchdown, we were off to a good start.”
The 6-foot, 158-pound Pereira set the tone early.
On Central’s first play of the season, Pereira hit Kassis for a 32-yard gain. On its second, the QB powered in for a 6-yard touchdown.
Kassis added a touchdown a possession later, then Pereira went back to work. 
First, he connected with JJ Mercuri for a 15-yard touchdown, then closed out the half with a 2-yard TD run, set up by a 42-yard Nick Donatio scamper.
Pereira and the Raiders kept rolling in the second half. He opened the scoring with a 3-yard run, then in back-to-back possessions found Mark Cicarelli for a 41-yard touchdown and Jermaine Wiggins for a 25-yard score.
“Everybody did their jobs,” said Pereira. “I feel like I pass a little better than I run, but I think I am a dual-threat  quarterback. That’s a good team, but I knew we could do it.”
Kassis ran for a team-high 78 yard on 13 attempts. Wiggins led the Raiders with four catches for 63 yards,
“We had to keep digging,” said Kassis. “We knew it was going to be a dogfight. We had to keep pushing, because they were going to keep going back. (Pereira) was amazing. He had a lot of confidence. He did a great job stepping up and being a leader. I’ve seen him in practice. I knew what he could do.”
Central needed all of that offense, as Springfield Central scored on all three of its second-half possessions, and five of its final six drives.
“It was an awesome game,” said Central coach Chuck Adamopoulos. “I’m not thrilled with some of our stuff on defense. But we’ll work on that, and this was a very good win.”
The Raiders now face another daunting task, when they welcome rival and defending Division 1 state champ St. John’s Prep to Lawrence Veterans Memorial Stadium on Saturday (2 p.m.)
“This is a confidence boost,” said Kassis. “We have the momentum going right now. We want to keep it going into next week.”
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Football, 09/14/19 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Ramos (3 TDs) has huge day, but Andover falls late to Franklin

ANDOVER - The record isn't quite going to reflect it, but Andover has played some pretty good football through its first two games of the season.

Last week, the Warriors played hard-hitting Wayne Valley (N.J.), which started practices before Massachusetts teams, and hung around until late in the fourth. As a reward, the Warriors got to welcome Franklin on Saturday, which was ranked No. 14 in EMass by the Boston Globe.

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Football, 09/14/19 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Tamayo injury derails Lawrence in heartbreaking loss

LAWRENCE — What began as a classic turned into heartbreak for Lawrence High.
With the Lancers’ offense red hot going into halftime with the game tied, they were dealt a crushing blow when QB Jacob Tamayo  was forced to leave the game with severe leg cramps early in the third quarter.
After the defense stood strong, Tamayo hobbled out for the final possession of the game, but there would be no miracle, and Lawrence dropped a devastating 30-22 season-opening loss to Burlington on Saturday.
“It’s just very unfortunate,” said Lawrence coach Rhandy Audate. “Our kids played their hearts out. But (Tamayo) just cramped up and couldn’t continue. I’m so proud that our kids continued to battle no matter what and showed the kind of team we are.”
For two quarters, Tamayo and the Lawrence offense looked nearly unstoppable. 
On their first possession of the game, the Lancers needed just seven plays to go 67 yards, and fullback Dewy Baez ran in for a 4-yard TD. 
Burlington took a 14-6 lead, but Lawrence came right back.
Lancer running back Gianni Vargas broke off three straight carries for a combined 42 yards, then Tamayo found Isaias Richards for a 6-yard touchdown. 
Burlington scored again, then seemed to have the Lancers stopped. But Tamayo rolled out on fourth-and-16 and threw a beautiful 55-yard bomb to Manny Lara, who rolled in for a touchdown. Baez scored a two-point conversion, and it was 22-22 at halftime.
That’s when the rain started to fall heavily, and trouble struck for the Lancers.
Tamayo — who was 9-for-11 passing for 120 yards in the first half — opened the second half with a 13-yard completion. But he quickly limped off the field.
He returned the following possession, but was sacked and had to be helped off the field.
“Jacob completely cramped up,” said Audate. “At the end of the day, there was nothing we could do about that. He played his heart out, but he just couldn’t return to the action.”
With rain pouring, Burlington took the lead late in the third when Lawrence’s punt snap went out of the end zone for a safety.
Without Tamayo, the Lancers tied three different replacements at quarterback, even playing single-wing briefly, but could not find the same rhythm.
The Lawrence defense responded with two stops, highlighted by a fumble that was caused by Baez and recovered by Brandon Lavasta. But the Red Devils did tack on a score with 2:10 left. 
With the Lancers trailing by eight points, Tamayo tried to return for a final two-minute drill. But he left the game again and Lawrence turned the ball over on downs.
The final quarter was marred by controversy, as Lawrence was called for four personal fouls in the fourth. But Audate was quick to defend his players.
“When the game gets chippy, you have to call the game both ways,” said the coach. “Our kids weren’t cursing or saying anything like that to the officials. They didn’t lose their composure. I’m proud of the heart the kids showed. They continued no matter what, and we will come back strong next week.” 

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Football, 09/14/19 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Methuen's offense sharp in opener.

METHUEN — Understandably, Methuen quarterback Connor Bryant was just happy to start playing real games once again Saturday afternoon.

"After a long preseason, after all the work we've put in, it was good to get out here and see what we can do," said Bryant following the Rangers' season-opening 47-14 romp over Malden Catholic.

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Football, 09/14/19 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Hoey throws four TDs, Pelham rolls past Sanborn

PELHAM — Ian Hoey spent a week fuming over Pelham’s opening week loss.
On Friday, the Pythons’ QB took that anger out on Sanborn.
Four of Hoey’s five completions went for touchdowns and Pelham rolled to its first win of the season, topping rival Sanborn 34-0.
“Ian was on fire today,” said Charlie Katin. “He was on point. He was lights-out the whole game. He’s our leader.”
Expectations were high for Hoey after he tied for second in The Eagle-Tribune area with 17 touchdown passes to go with 1,123 passing yards last season.
And the 5-foot-10, 165-pound QB more than lived up those expectations last night.
“We’re so pumped,” said Hoey. “We knew we had to get this game. After losing last week, this was already a must-win game. We came in knowing we were going to run the ball to drag them in, then go for the pass.”
Hoey wasted no time setting the tone.
On his second attempt of the game, Hoey dropped back and lofted a picture-perfect pass into the hands of Colby Travis for a 23-yard touchdown.
“Hoey threw it where it needed to be,” said Travis. “It was exciting. I knew, if he got it up to me, I would make a play. I got that done and it was exciting to get on the board and go ahead.”
After a quick Sanborn three-and-out, Pelham took over and Hoey found the end zone again, tossing an 11-yard fade to big 6-foot-3, 255-pound tight end Zach Jones for a score.
That combo hooked up again midway through the second quarter, when Hoey connected with Jones, who landed in the end zone for a 27-yard score.
Hoey played just three plays in the second half, finishing his day with a 42-yard bomb to Katin for his fourth TD. He finished the day 5 for 5 for 108 yards.
“My buddy Hoey threw some great passes,” said Travis. “He was legit. He was lights-out. And our running game was big too.”
Katin led the rushing attack with 55 yards on seven carries. Travis added 46 yards and Matt Crowley rushed for 48 yards on four attempts including the other Pelham score.
Leading the Pelham defense was freshman Ethan Demmos with five tackles and a sack, Noah Coppinger (5 tackles) and Travis (6 tackles).
“We are super pumped,” said Katin. “We wanted to make a statement and show we’re a contender. We’re feeling good going to Milford on Friday.”
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Football, 09/13/19 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Owls can't pull late comeback

PLAISTOW — The Timberlane football team had its opportunities late, but couldn't get the final score that it needed.

After falling behind 14-0 at halftime to Manchester Central, the Owls made it one-score game with 8:49 left after quarterback Jared Morrison plunged in from a yard out. But the Central defense held strong the rest of the way to secure a 14-7 victory.

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Football, 09/13/19 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Champs go down: North Andover falls to Marblehead in season opener

NORTH ANDOVER - We're only a week into the regular season, and Marblehead coach Jim Rudloff already has had a carousel at quarterback.

But with Joshua Robertson - the team's fourth-string QB when training camp started - under center Friday evening against defending Division 2 state champ North Andover, the Magicians were able to work some magic.

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Football, 09/13/19 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Reggies fall to North Reading


WEST ANDOVER — Greater Lawrence never quite solved North Reading's most successful offensive play Friday afternoon.

That failure and an 88-yard kickoff return spelled defeat for the Reggies, who dropped to 1-1 on the season after a 35-20 loss to the Hornets.

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Football, 09/13/19 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Pythons win 1st


Pelham's volleyball team won its first match of the season, sweeping Manchester West to improve to 1-1. Maria Dagher had an impressive nine aces in the win.

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Girls Volleyball, 09/10/19 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

VIDEO: Andover volleyball's Eduardo Machado

Eduardo Machado is a standout for the Andover volleyball team — he leads the team in assists and kills — and is also a star in the classroom. He is ranked in the top 10 percent of his class, scored a 2,170 on his SATs and will be attending RPI.

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05/17/12 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

VIDEO: Salem runner Eric Tahtamoni

Salem runner Eric Tahtamoni talks about his new love of hurdles, and his hopes to break the school record in the 400.

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05/11/12 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

VIDEO: Haverhill runner Mike McNaughton

Haverhill's Mike McNaughton talks about his career as a runner.
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05/04/12 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

VIDEO: Andover lax star Jaymi Cohen

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05/04/12 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

VIDEO: Andover softball talks "New Start"

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04/06/12 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

VIDEO: Highlights of 2012 high school hockey season

Take a look back at some of the best highlights from the 2012 high school hockey season.

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03/22/12 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars
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