LAWRENCE, Mass. – Central Catholic’s Cody Demers earned his turkey, all of the sides, and two slices of pie.
The senior scored a pair of touchdowns, racked up 266 total yards, including an 86-yard interception return that salted the game away, as Central Catholic rolled past Andover 44-18 in front 2,500 people at Lawrence Stadium.
“A lot of the newspapers thought we were going to look past Andover so we wanted to come out early and definitely win this game,” Demers said. “We didn't want to look past this team. Nothing would satisfy them more than to beat us on our field on Thanksgiving.”
Demers' interception came after he read a screen pass perfectly out of E.J. Perry's hands, scooped it off the ground and sprinted down the sideline. Perry forced Demers out of bounds at the two.
“I saw someone coming out in the flat, he overthrew him and I picked it off,” Demers said. “I got into the footrace with the quarterback. Huge momentum change for our team especially when they're driving like that. I'm not going to lie, I started cramping towards the end.”
Andover put together a 98-yard drive for a touchdown to score first, but after that it was all Raiders. Central scored three touchdowns and controlled the line of scrimmage to take a 24-6 lead into the half.
Demers stole the show, reeling in a 36-yard touchdown pass from Mike Milano and running 80 yards on a sweep for another score.
“He's a big-play guy,” Central head coach Chuck Adamopoulos said of Demers. “When we needed a little giddy up on offense he came through with a big play. The kid's love him. He's a scraper; he's a tough little bugger.”
Milano was economical with his passes, but each one played a key role in Central's win. Milano only completed six balls but two of those were for touchdowns and three others went for first downs.
Milano also added a winding 30-yard touchdown run.
“He's just a gutsy, clutch kid,” Adamopoulos said of Milano. “He's just a junior. I'm happy we've got him back next year.”
After Andover's touchdown in the first quarter the Raider defense locked down. The running attack of Oliver Eberth and Jack Sylvester could not get through Central's front seven until late in the game when Adamopoulos had benched his starters.
Adamopoulos said that holding contain was the key and that his team did that.
“Discipline on defense on your backside pursuit has to stay along the line of scrimmage,” Adamopoulos said. “The wind was a factor; when you were against it it was hard to throw the ball.
“The key was control the third quarter and we did that. The kids did a good job. Our defense has continued to play well.”
Even in the postgame celebrations the word “Xaverian” was rarely heard as the Raiders wanted to savor beating their archrival.
“It's the seniors last time on this field,” Demers said. “We wanted to leave our mark.”