Once again the defense dug in, and on fourth-and-one at the 5-yard line Scarpa couldn’t hit his favorite receiver Will Heikkinen in the end zone. Scarpa was 16-26 for 163 yards with two interceptions. Connor Powers picked one off right before halftime, and Lucas Bavaro had another in the second half.
“This win means a lot to us,” said Prep quarterback Jack Sharrio. “We struggled in the first half, but turned it on in the second. Johnny was amazing; our whole line was amazing. At halftime we meet with our position coaches, and they told us to play St. John’s Prep football in the second half. Our defense had bailed us out so many times; then we got it going.”
Andover attempted another field goal on the opening drive of the third quarter, a 31-yard try by Eberth that was short. The Eagles answered with an 80-yard drive on nine plays, and Thomas had all but one of them. He ran the ball seven times for 59 yards, capped by a touchdown from a yard out. Stephen Camarro kicked the first of three extra points, and the Eagles were on the board with 3:31 left in the third quarter.
Andover answered by driving to the Eagles’ 12-yard line before Alex Moore stripped the ball from Heikkinen after he had made a nice catch. That set up the next score with St. John’s driving 90 yards on eight rushes by Thomas and a 19-yard Thomas reception from Sharrio. Thomas broke up the middle for a 19-yard TD. The final touchdown by Thomas was a nifty 47-yard run with 4:48 remaining in the game.
“The defense made some big stops,” said Thomas. “They were our hearts in this game.”
Defensive ends Tucker Mathers and Bongiorno put a lot of pressure on Scarpa, who was held to 44 yards passing in the second half and sacked twice by Mathers.