Billerica Battles Its Way Past Andover
ANDOVER -- The Billerica High football team held off MVC rival Andover, 29-21, in a non-playoff game here Friday night.
Right from the kickoff, there was energy uncharacteristic of a rainy Friday night game. Even though both teams had been knocked out of the playoffs, the stakes felt high.
Andover and Billerica traded touchdowns in the first half which ended 7-7. Andover’s quarterback, Victor Harrington, ran Andover’s first points into the endzone, and Billerica responded with a deep touchdown pass from QB Nolan Houlihan to Nicholas Gualtieri.
As the rain began to fall more intensely throughout the second half, the game would become more and more open as the scoreboard began to light up.
Billerica opened up the third quarter with strong runs coming from their star of the day, Robert Moore. The senior stretched the Andover defense with sweeping runs to each side of field before slicing his way up the middle for two consecutive first downs. Billerica’s first drive in the third quarter led to a cutting Jared Fultz reception in the end-zone on a pass from Houlihan.
Andover matched Billerica’s running success in the third with senior Tommy Duncan stringing together two pounding runs after Aneudy Moreno returned the Billerica punt all the way to the 47-yard line. On the same drive, senior captain Nick Zalanskas caught a 20-yard pass at the 15 and ran it in to bring Andover level with Billerica headed into the fourth quarter at 14 apiece.
It was then that Billerica’s Robert Moore looked to ice the game, cutting like a knife through the middle of Andover’s line for a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter.
After a two-point conversion from Ian Gibbons, Andover went four-and-out. Moore again took Billerica on his back with a run from around midfield to the house, putting Billerica up 29-14.
Andover refused to quit, coming up with a touchdown to come within 8, and managed to stop Billerica on their next drive with the help of two massive hits by Aneudy Moreno and Michael Clayton for significant losses. The effort proved too little too late for the Warriors, as the clock ticked out with Billerica on top.
The Indians play at Chelmsford High on Thanksgiving morning.