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November 26, 2012

Contrasting styles highlight St. John's Prep, Andover playoff match

St. John’s Prep coach Jim O’Leary compares the annual Thanksgiving tilt with Xaverian to the battle between Michigan and Ohio State. There isn’t much either team doesn’t know about the other because they scout each other every game.

It is a totally different story when it comes to Division 1 playoff opponent Andover. O’Leary hasn’t seen them play, and both beat common opponents Xaverian and Central Catholic. The Golden Warriors edged Central on Thanksgiving, 22-19 in a game that wasn’t decided until late. They also squeaked by the Hawks, 15-13 the fourth week of the season. The Eagles handled Central, 31-7 and blanked Xaverian, 9-0.

Coach E. J. Perry’s team comes into the contest with a 10-1 record and puts up a lot of points. Andover averages 37.1 points per game and allows 20. The only loss was to Lowell, 42-35 in the ninth week of the season.

“We don’t know a whole lot about them,” said O’Leary. “Perry’s father (Christopher, class of 1962) is in the Hall of Fame here, and E. J. used to coach at Malden Catholic. I know him and his brothers. One of our coaches, Ryan Bird, was the offensive coordinator with him for a couple of years.

“We haven’t seen them live, but we’ll look at some film. I know they want to throw the ball down the field, and that will create a little matchup problem for us. St. John’s Shrewsbury, Dracut, and Catholic Memorial use the spread so it’s not something we haven’t seen before, but Andover is very productive with it. They score a lot of points, and they get them fast.”

Andover senior quarterback C. J. Scarpa is the leading passer in Division 1 throwing for 32 TD’s, and senior Cam Farnham has 13 rushing touchdowns. Farnham also has 11 receptions for touchdowns while senior Will Heikkinen has 9. Against Central Catholic Scarpa completed 15 of 30 passes for 235 yards. He threw for two touchdowns ran for another.

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