Unbeaten Andover Outscores Chelmsford, 42-22
CHS football team suffers fourth straight Merrimack Valley Conference setback.
There are times in the world of sports when it seems as though you couldn't buy a break no matter how much you were willing to spend, and for coach Bruce Rich and the Chelmsford High football team, Friday night was one of those times.
Hosting undefeated league powerhouse Andover High at Simonian Alumni Stadium, the Lions were trailing by only a touchdown late in the second quarter when it appeared as though sophomore quarterback Jack Campsmith had hooked up with senior wide receiver Gregory Johnson on a 34-yard touchdown pass that would have tied the game. But a yellow flag flew in the corner of the end zone and Johnson was called for a rare offensive pass interference penalty, nullifying the apparent score.
Chelmsford was forced to punt two plays later and Andover responded with a 73-yard scoring drive to extend its lead to 22-8 at the half, and the Golden Warriors went on to hand CHS it's fourth straight loss, 42-22.
“The big momentum play in the game was the touchdown taken away from us in the corner," said Chelmsford coach Bruce Rich. "...That just turned the game around."
Andover scored again on the opening possession of the second half, and tacked on two more touchdowns before the end of the third quarter, increasing its lead to 42-8 before CHS answered with a pair of touchdowns of its own to make the final score a bit more respectable.
But the bottom line was that Andover improved its record to 8-0, while the Lions fell to 4-4. Worse, the loss was Chelmsford's second straight against Merrimack Valley Conference Division 1 opponents, making it all but impossible for the Lions to successfully defend their 2011 MVC Division 1 championship this fall.
Chelmsford's toughest task Friday night was containing Andover's superstar quarterback CJ Scarpa, who came into the game leading all EMass. Division 1 quarterbacks with 21 touchdowns passes.
Scarpa added three more TD pases to his impressive senior season total, and ran for a fourth as the Golden Warriors continued their dominance of MVC opponents. In five league games so far this year Andover has scored an average of just under 44 points per game.
Scarpa is surrounded by an impressive set of weapons including senior wide receivers Cam Farnham (9 touchdowns), Andrew Deloury (7 TDs) and Will Heikkinen (6 TDs) and junior running back Jack Sylvester (6 TDs).
"They’re a good football team, probably the best Andover team I’ve seen in 25 years,” Rich said.
While the Lion defense struggled to contain Scarpa and the Andover offense, the education of Chelmsford's young Jack Campsmith at the MVC School of Hard Knocks continued. Forced to abandon the running game in the second half, Campsmith completed 12-of-22 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns, connecting with Johnson twice on scoring passes of nine and 34 yards.
While Chelmsford is 0-4 in the four games since Campsmith replaced injured starting QB Bobby Sullivan, his emergence as a quality quarterback has been apparent to all observers.
"He's gonna be a good one," Rich said of Campsmith "He's playing better every game. Quarterbacks don't get the win, or the loss either. He's doing his part."
Senior running back Connor Brimley returned from a nagging injury and scored his third touchdown of the season, but leading rusher Jeff D'Auria was limited to just seven carries for 31 yards. D'Auria, who came into the game ranked second among EMass Division 1 scorers with 14 touchdowns and 84 points, was held out of the end zone for the first time all season on Friday.
Senior wide receiver Eric Van Gelder caught four passes for 54 yards while Johnson had three receptions for 51 yards, two of them going for touchdowns.
"I give our kids credit," Rich said. "We had lost two toughs ones in a row, two heartbreakers. But our kids still came to play tonight. Attitude-wise they were right there."
Chelmsford gets a break from the rigors of MVC play this week. The Lions travel to Malden (2-6) for a non-league game Friday nght.