Over the offseason, Andover coach EJ Perry challenged his team, specifically senior captains Scotty Brown and Lincoln Beal, to commit to playing hard-nosed football again.
After losing to Central Catholic by 56 points and Methuen by 30, the Golden Warriors committed themselves to the weight room in search of a turnaround season.
The results followed, as the Golden Warriors avenged those losses to win the Merrimack Valley Conference Large Division title. A bitter one-point loss to rival North Andover at Fenway Park a year ago, still lingered.
Wednesday night, Andover responded with a 52-12 thumping of North Andover, as Brown amassed five touchdowns and the defense totaled five interceptions. The Golden Warriors (10-1) captured the Johnson-Punchard Trophy and improved to 4-3 in the seven Thanksgiving meetings.
“I told them that we have to change the culture and the course of Andover football,” said Perry. “We’ve got to get back to being tough, hard-nosed, and everything like that.”
Brown came out of the gates firing, dancing past a wave of defenders down the sidelines for a 53-yard scoring scamper. After Beal jumped a post route for the first of his three interceptions, Brown connected with senior Andrew Wetterwald on a wide-open 38-yard touchdown strike.
Brown completed 10 of 15 passes for 157 yards and three touchdowns, adding nine rushes for 141 yards and two scores. A UMass Lowell baseball commit, Brown made sure to end his career on a high note.
“There’s no other way I would want to go out,” said Brown. “This has just been the perfect year — MVC Champions. I just hope that I left a good legacy and the younger guys can see what the seniors did and carry it on.”
Behind the offensive line of juniors Brady Carlson, Liam Finn, Jamyl Figueora Ryan Zannoni,and senior Jason Osborne, Beal rumbled for 82 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries in addition to making a pair of catches for 44 yards and a touchdown.
“Being able to have 2022 on the banner is going to be special,” said Beal.
Perry reflected on the year, calling this team the best that he’s coached in his 13 seasons with Andover.
“We were ready to go,” said Perry. “We wanted this senior class to end on a win.”
Brockton 31, Bridgewater-Raynham 20 — In the finale for Peter Colombo as head coach after a 17-year run, Cam Monteiro (18 rush, 156 yards, 2 TDs) and Kole Osinubi (14-127, 2 TDs), the Boxers (9-2, 4-0 SEC) captured the Southeast Conference title over the Trojans (5-6, 3-1) with impressive win at Fenway Park.
KIPP Academy 54, Lynn Tech 48 — Juan Setalsingh opened the contest with an 80-yard touchdown throw to Victor Mafo and finished with six total touchdowns (5 passing, 1 rushing) as the Panthers (8-4) kept their offense at full throttle in preparation for their Division 8 Super Bowl matchup against Hull a week from Saturday (10 a.m.) at Gillette.
Old Colony 30, Tri-County 0 — Chris Egan finished off 10-yard and 15-yard rushing touchdowns as the Cougars (10-2) capped off their season with a Mayflower Conference road win.
South Shore Voc-Tech 40, Holbrook/Avon 8 — Jared Madden connected with Cliff Munroe on touchdown passes of 34 and 30 yards and Madden added a 47-yard rushing touchdown and scored on a 36-yard punt return to power the Vikings (8-4) to a win against visiting Holbrook.
St. Bernard’s 48, St. Paul 20 — Damien Jones racked up three first-half rushing touchdowns and Keegan Rose scampered in the end zone twice in the second half to pace the Bernardians (11-1) to the nonleague win at Assumption College. St. Bernard’s will play West Boylston in the Division 7 Super Bowl a week from Friday at Gillette Stadium (3 p.m.)
St. John’s (Shrewsbury) 56, Malden Catholic 20 — Matt Marchese, Chris Senecal, Logan Mercer notched two touchdowns each to lift the Pioneers (4-7) to the Catholic Conference win over host Malden Catholic.
Worcester South 48, Worcester North 16 — Senior Angelo LaRose (8 rushes, 249 yards) scored on runs of 27, 59, 70, 62 yards, along with an 18-yard reception as the Colonels (9-2) won the Inter-High title in Worcester for the first time in 34 years. LaRose, who will play at Wesleyan, finished with 5,577 career yards and 79 touchdowns on 643 careers (8.7 yards per carry), per the Worcester Telegram.
Globe correspondents Cam Kerry reported from North Andover, Nate Weitzer from Fenway Park. Corresondents Ethan Fuller, Tyler Foy, Khalin Kapoor and Eamonn Ryan contributed to this story.
Cam Kerry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.