Boston High School: Cam Walsh

Perry guiding hand to Andover's MVC Large title

November, 25, 2010
ANDOVER, Mass. -- When E.J. Perry arrived as Andover’s third football coach in the last three seasons, he asked his seniors to find it within themselves to faith in the journey they were about to undertake.

They did, and that faith has been rewarded. Thanks in part to a stifling defense led by Mike McGovern and an Andrew Coke-led offense that hung tough and persevered through some tough stretches, the Golden Warriors defeated Central Catholic, 19-7, at Lovely Field and are going to the postseason for the first time since 1975.

“This is for the kids. I had to come in here and ask them to believe in me and they responded,” Perry said. “For a group of seniors to respond and believe in a new coach for the third time is remarkable. I’ll never forget this senior class. 35 years they haven’t been to the playoffs, 35 years they haven’t won an MVC title. Year one, we got it done.”

Andover’s (8-3) last game saw its defense allow 82 points to Lowell in an 8-overtime classic, and defensive coordinator Shawn Theriault and the rest of the staff knew they had to change that in order to topple the Raiders and capture the Merrimack Valley Conference Large title.

McGovern had an interception in his own end zone, deflected another pass, and made tackles all over the field to lead a unit that held Central Catholic (7-4) to 158 yards of offense and just one drive that traveled further than 27 yards.

“The defense was awesome,” praised Perry. “Shawn (Theriault) came off that last game and he was upset about the 82 points. I told him, when they go to that overtime, it’s like playing 3-on-3 basketball. It’s not real. I just told him to stick in there and this defense was unbelievable.”

Added Andover captain/lineman Connor Clancy, “The defense was awesome. Coach (Tim) Briggs, Coach Theriault, Coach (Joe) Iarrobino and Coach (Steve) Silva, they all had us prepared for this game. We knew everything they were going to do from the screens to the draws. We were perfectly prepared.”

When Andover had the ball, it spent most of its time in the hands of junior quarterback Andrew Coke. Coke finished with 129 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries, a good chunk of which came on two fourth-quarter possessions where Coke shifted to tailback and Tom Dempsey took the snaps, including the game’s final TD with 1:54 left to play.

“They were really shutting us down in the second half,” Coke said. “That fourth quarter drive was really what did it. I went to running back, Tommy Dempsey went to quarterback and we just decided we were going to pound it down their throats and do what we always did this whole season.”

Freddie Scribner (9 carries, 78 rushing yards) broke loose for a 60-yard run on the game’s first play from scrimmage, which eventually led to a 37-yard field goal by Mark Zavrl. After trading turnovers, Andover forced Central to punt, and Coke led his team on a 10-play, 55-yard drive that culminated in a two-yard TD run by McGovern. Zavrl would add another field goal late in the half, this one a 42-yarder.

Meanwhile, the Andover defense was taking control of the game. The Raiders first five possessions went 6, 9, 2, 23 and 2 yards respectively. Central’s best chance came on the final drive of the half, as big runs by Matt McDermott and Cam Walsh moved the Raiders to the Andover 11. However, McGovern stepped in front of a McDermott pass in the end zone, and the Golden Warriors were able to take a 12-0 lead into the break.

Central had trouble getting out of its own way at times, with a combination of penalties and miscues on snaps leading to big losses. They did make things interesting in the fourth quarter on a drive that started at the Andover 27, went all the way back to the CC 45, and then back into the red zone (aided greatly by three Andover penalties) before Trae Musumarra barreled in from the one with 7:58 left to make it a 12-7 game.

“I tip my hat to Andover because their defense hung in there and we felt like we were treading water all day,” admitted Raiders coach Chuck Adamopoulos. “We got penalties at the wrong times and it felt like we were always first and 25. We didn’t play well enough to win, and they deserved it because they played better than we did.”

Central Catholic 0 0 0 7 -- 7
Andover 9 3 0 7 -- 19

A - Mark Zavrl 37 field goal
A - Mike McGovern 2 run (pass failed)
A - Zavrl 42 field goal
CC - Trae Musumarra 1 run (Cam Walsh kick)
A - Andrew Coke 6 run (Zavrl kick)

Carroll leads No. 7 Methuen to 8th straight 'W'

November, 6, 2010
LAWRENCE, Mass. -- Against Central Catholic, Cal Carroll found yet another way to impact a game. And this time, Methuen’s dual-threat quarterback wasn’t even on the field.

With eight and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter, Central Catholic scored on a two-yard touchdown run by quarterback Matt McDermott and trailed, 17-16. Conventional wisdom would have told Raiders coach Chuck Adamopoulos to tie the game with an extra point. But across the field, on the opposing sideline, Carroll loomed.

"I wanted to go for two because I thought our best chance to win the game was to win in regulation," Adamopoulos said. "I didn’t want to have to defend Carroll in overtime."

The Raiders’ two-point try failed and left them trying to catch up for the remainder of a wild fourth quarter that ended with Methuen taking its eighth straight win, 24-22.

"It’s awesome," said Carroll. "Methuen hasn’t been 8-0 in the [Merrimack Valley Conference] in a long time…To be on top feels great."

After Central Catholic’s failed conversion, Carroll made the Raiders’ comeback climb even tougher. He capped a 67-yard drive by hitting Bobby Cole on a 35-yard touchdown pass to make the score 24-16.

Down eight, Central Catholic had one last scoring drive left in them. The second half of the Raiders’ two-headed quarterback attack, Ben Onett (5-11, 65 yards), found Xavier Peralta (4 rec., 86 yards) in the end zone for a 23-yard score with 1:55 left.

Facing a two-point deficit, Adamopoulos was forced to go for two points again. The second try was similarly unsuccessful as the snap sailed over the head of running back Santino Brancato, forcing Brancato (10 carries, 45 yards) to fall on the ball for a loss.

Cole recovered the ensuing Central Catholic onside kick attempt to seal the Methuen victory.

It was a dramatic end to a firework-filled fourth quarter dominated by Carroll. He finished the game with a touchdown and 123 yards rushing on 28 carries, and 6-15 passing for 101 yards and two touchdowns. Both his touchdown passes came in the fourth quarter, and came with the Rangers’ leading receiver, Raudy Minaya, out of the game. Minaya left with a right knee injury suffered on a punt return late in the second quarter. He did not return.

Before Carroll’s touchdown pass to Cole, he started the fourth quarter by rolling out to his right to find Corey Shepherd for a 42-yard score. Shepherd was one of four Rangers receivers to catch a pass.

"Down the stretch everyone’s taking away our run," said Methuen coach Patrick Graham, who also watched his running back Ryan Savastano rush for 123 yards on 16 carries. "So we’re going to have to throw and [Carroll] has done a good job."

Methuen went into the half with a 10-0 lead after a Carroll one-yard touchdown plunge and an Eric Lacroix 29-yard field goal, but Central Catholic got those points back in the third quarter thanks to Cam Walsh.

Walsh kicked a 30-yard field goal to bring the Raiders within a touchdown of Methuen. Just over three minutes later, on Central Catholic’s next drive, Walsh (4 carries, 87 yards) took a handoff, burst through the line of scrimmage and sprinted 78 yards for the game-tying score.

Methuen answered with Shepherd’s touchdown catch and Central Catholic was left to catch up from there after McDermott (5-10, 58 yards passing) scored from two yards out and the following two-point try failed.

"It’s big," said Graham of the win. "There’s a lot of Methuen kids [on Central Catholic]. They grew up with those kids. They grew up playing with them in Pop Warner and other sports. When you lose to someone you don’t know, it doesn’t hurt as bad as when you lose to someone you do know."

Other notes:

- Methuen called up sophomore junior varsity center Dicky Aziz to play in place of starter Matt Whittaker, who missed the game with an injury. He fit into the Rangers zone blocking scheme just fine, helping to pave the way for 268 yards rushing. He also was on point with his shotgun snaps, as the Rangers’ offense almost exclusively uses the shotgun.

“[Aziz] did an excellent job,” said Carroll. “His snaps were all on target, and most of all he did a great job double teaming with our guards. That’s great to see we can trust him.”

- Methuen was unsure if Minaya would miss future games because of his injury. He was on crutches on the sidelines for the entire second half.

- This was Methuen’s third straight win over Central Catholic.

- Central Catholic continued to platoon quarterbacks as McDermott and Onett took the snaps on every other series.

- The national anthem was performed by six-year-old Olivia DiFiore, daughter of Raiders assistant coach Ernie DiFiore.


MET (8-1) 0 10 0 14 --- 24
CEN (6-3) 0 0 10 12 –-- 22

Second quarter
M – Lacroix 29 kick
M – Carroll 1 run (Lacroix kick)

Third quarter
C – Walsh 30 kick
C – Walsh 78 run (Walsh kick)

Fourth quarter
M – Carroll 42 pass to Shepard (Lacroix kick)
C – McDermott 2 run (run failed)
M – Carroll 35 pass to Cole (Lacroix kick)
C – Onett 23 pass to Peralta (run failed)
LAWRENCE, Mass. -- In years prior, No. 22 Central Catholic found itself the victim of the critical turnover -- the fumble with a goal-to-go, a costly interception to swing momentum. That translated to a 5-6 record in both 2007 and ’08.

In 2009, things just seemed to come around.

Central Catholic
Scott Barboza/ESPNBoston.comCentral Catholic hopes to build on its turnaround season of 2009.
“I’ve found there’s a very fine line between 5-6 and 8-3,” Raiders head coach Chuck Adamopoulos said. “Last year, it was a group that just made plays. We had more than a couple times we made a play and came up with a big turnover at a big time in the game.

“In those years before, when we went 5-6, quite frankly, we weren’t the team that was doing that.”

A collection of tiny moments, small actions stitched together form the fabric of a season. And the Raiders were finally able to take hold of those last year. Such as when Cam Walsh’s clutch field goal lifted the then 0-1 Raiders to a dramatic 15-14 win over St. John’s Prep in Week 2. From there, Central Catholic ran off a string of six straight victories, putting them in contention for the Merrimack Valley Conference title.

Even after two straight losses (in a squeaker to Methuen and a drubbing administered by Billerica) to dash their MVC hopes, the Raiders rallied to snap a three-year skid against rival Andover on Thanksgiving morning.

It’s brought a sense of optimism.

“I’d like for us to finish with a winning record, obviously, first of all,” said senior running back and linebacker Trae Musumarra. “But I’d like to think that we can win it all. I’m feeling good about this season, real good. We’re young, but I think we’re going to make our mark.”

If the Raiders are to do so, Musumarra will have to be a big contributor to the cause.

“He’s explosive,” Adamopoulos said, “he’s a good player and we need him to have a big season for us to do well as a team.”

It’s a heavy weight to bear for the 6-foot, 190-pounder.

Musumarra, who has been clocked running a 4.5 in the 40, tallied six touchdowns on offense while collecting seven sacks playing as an outside linebacker last year. But there have been plenty of changes. While the Raiders will continue with their spread attack, Adamopoulos is going to a 4-3 instead of their customary 3-4 because of their losses at linebacker.

“I think we’ve had more learning to do this year because we’re moving to a 4-3,” Musumarra said. “Now, it’s our job to pick up the leadership and make sure the younger players are getting it. With a lot of younger kids in there, there’s a lot of learning to do.”

Yet, for all the formations to remember and coverage schemes to study, Central Catholic’s success will once again hinge on performance — making the big play in the biggest moments.

Just like Walsh’s kick against Prep last year.

“Confidence is really what you need to kick the ball well,” said the senior captain.

“It’s more of a mind game.”

The Raiders will have that covered.

2009 record: 8-3 ( Merrimack Valley)
Coach: Chuck Adamopoulos (14th year, 90-50)
Players to watch: Trae Musumarra, Sr., RB/LB, 6-0, 190 lbs.; Jaycob Morales, Sr., TE/LB, 6-0, 180 lbs.; Ryan Sullivan, Sr., WR/DB, 5-10, 150 lbs.; Cam Walsh, Sr., RB/DB/K, 5-10, 175 lbs.; Brendan Hopkinson, Sr., OL/DL, 6-1, 240 lbs.; Henry Rodriguez, Jr., WR/DB, 5-11, 175 lbs.
Strengths: Depth at wide receiver and secondary, team speed.
Weaknesses: Depth and experience at linebacker, experience on offensive and defensive lines.
Outlook: The biggest transition the Raiders will face will be on defense with Adamopoulos’ move from a 3-4 to a 4-3. The linebacker corps is also in flux, but will be anchored by strong-side linebacker Jaycob Morales. The secondary is the strength of the group with Zach Bardwell and Walsh holding down the corner spots. On offense, Adamopoulos’ outlook is almost giddy with excitement. “This is probably about as talented a group of receivers we’ve had in a very long time.” There are plenty of weapons between Xavier Peralta, Henry Rodriguez and Ryan Sullivan. The question is: Who will throw them the ball? Right now, it’s a two-man race between Bardwell and junior Matt McDermott. The line is a little lacking in the experience department, but senior center Brendan Hopkinson provides stability. At the tackles, juniors Ryan Barry and Christian Nunez will give the Raiders capable bookends for the next couple years.