By Chris Dunn          

Behind the strong play of their 21 seniors, the Andover High School football team captured the MVC title on the biggest stage, beating Central Catholic 22-19 Thanksgiving Day.

Playing in front of a crowd of approximately 6,500 people, the Golden Warriors faced a win-or-go-home situation, and showed poise and toughness.

Andover was led by the play of their stars that have seemingly pulled them out of every tough situation they have faced this year. Captain C.J. Scarpa was the star of the show with 229 yards passing, 41 yards rushing, and three total touchdowns (two passing and one rushing). Andover also got strong performances from Cam Farnham (three catches, 103 yards, one touchdown), captain Will Heikkinen (four catches 48 yards, one interception), and tough play from captains Andreas Christopulos and Adam Ladd on both sides of the ball.

Many of the seniors were on the team that won the MVC title two years ago, but for them this victory means so much more. “I was on the team two years ago, but I did not play a huge role in the victory,” said Christopulos. “I have so much more emotion being a captain, and it means so much to end my career with the title.”

Not only did this victory mean an MVC title, but it also meant a playoff birth. The seniors remember all too well their last playoff berth, a 21-0 loss to Everett.

“We were very bitter after the loss to Everett,” said Heikkinen. “We felt like we didn’t play to our potential. I don’t want any regrets this year. I think we will find out what kind of team we really are on Tuesday night.”

The Golden Warriors will go up against Catholic Conference powerhouse St. Johns Prep on Tuesday at Cawley Stadium in Lowell at 7:45 p.m.

“We always feel confident going into our games,” said Christopulos. “We know the Prep is a strong opponent, but with the players we have, we always know we have a chance to win.

If the Warriors win they will be heading to the Division I state championship at Bentley College. The Golden Warriors have had a somewhat surprising run to the playoffs after the loss last year of Brown commit Andy Coke, but the Warriors will tell you that anything less of a state championship would be a disappointment.