By Jean DePlacido
---- — WILMINGTON – It was the Nick Andreas show at Wilmington’s Alumni Field last night.
The Danvers High junior quarterback led his team to a 32-7 victory over the host Wildcats, passing for two touchdowns and running for another pair.
Andreas completed 9-of-14 attempts for 212 yards and barreled in on QB keepers for two more scores as the Falcons (7-2) scored on their opening drive and never took their foot off the gas.
While Andreas was sensational, this was a complete team effort with several other outstanding performances. Junior wide receiver Cris Valles caught five passes for 124 yards including a 33-yard touchdown reception from Andreas, who also tossed a 55-yard TD pass to Lucas Lentine.
“Nick had an outstanding game,” said Falcons head coach Sean Rogers, whose team will face Beverly for the second time this season next week. “With (captain and tailback) Alex Valles, hurt some of the other guys stepped up. (Captain) Anthony Cordoba and Chris Behen ran well, and our offensive line did a fantastic job opening up the holes.”
The Falcons unveiled a new spread offense that caused big problems for Wilmington and also went with a hurry-up, no-huddle to create more problems for the hosts.
“We wanted to change things up and have more fun with our offense,” said Rogers. “We’ve been tinkering with the spread all year, and it was effective tonight.”
Behen had an opening kickoff return to midfield to set up the Falcons’ first score, capped by Andreas blasting in from the 2-yard line, and Sam Vitale booted the extra point.
Wilmington had a golden opportunity after recovering a fumble on a punt return later in the first quarter. The Wildcats took over at the Danvers 26-yard line, but James O’Regan’s fourth down pass was intercepted by Dan Lynch at the goal line.
Danvers increased its lead to 13-0 early in the second quarter on a 73-yard, 10-play drive, with Andreas keeping it for his second rushing TD of the game. By halftime the Falcons were up 20-0 after Cordoba’s 1-yard touchdown run. That score was set up by an Andreas-to-Cris Valles 58-yard strike.
“We came out an installed a new spread offense that worked unbelievably well,” said Andreas. “Our hurry-up is also something new. We were a well-oiled machine tonight, a two-headed monster. Our offensive line did a great job; they made everything possible. My receivers ran great routes and changed things up to make plays.”
“This wasn’t a playoff game, but we followed the mentality of our coach,” added Andreas. “He always says to never quit, always continue to play hard. Football is the game of life; you have to keep trying to do your best no matter what. We want to keep winning the rest of the way and put together a great season.”
Wilmington is a running team, but the Falcons’ defensive line did an outstanding job containing the rush. Middle linebacker Joe O’Donnell led the Falcons’ defense with three big hits in the backfield.