DeSouza, Knights pick off Warriors
NORTH ANDOVER -After the final whistle had sounded last night and with the rain pouring down, all Gabe DeSouza could do was look up and smile.
The North Andover senior intercepted a pass and scored on the third play of the game and his Scarlet Knights never looked back as they routed Lincoln-Sudbury, 42-0, to advance to the Div. 2 Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium.
The win avenges a tough loss to L-S in this same game on the road last year, a game in which frighteningly DeSouza collapsed because of cardiac arrest.
“I just needed one play to let everyone know that I was back,” said Desouza (two interceptions), who put the hosts up less than a minute into the contest when he snared an overthrow from Warriors QB Braden O’Connell in the middle of the field, returned it 35 yards for the score and added the PAT for good measure.
“I worked so hard to get back to this point. I’ve been thinking of this game for 365 days.”
Standout junior Freddy Gabin rushed for 77 yards and three scores and the swarming Knights defense held a very formidable L-S (9-1) offense to under 150 yards of total offense.
“Our defense was just tough,” North Andover coach John Dubzinski said. “This game has been on our mind for a year and we wanted to come out and play our best football. Everyone clicked tonight, offense, defense, and special teams.”
Already up 7-0, the Knights (10-0) found paydirt even quicker on their next possession as the speedy Darren Watson (104 yards receiving, TD) streaked down the L-S sidelines 61 yards on a counter on the first play to the Warriors’ 2-yard-line. Quarterback Jake McElroy (131 yards passing) plunged in from there to make it 14-0 with better than five minutes still left in the opening quarter.
A blocked punt led to the third NA score as the Knights took over on the L-S 29 and scored on a 11-yard run up the middle by Gabin.
Watson finished up the impressive half by the hosts when he took a screen pass from McElroy down the Knights’ sideline 51 yards for the score. Gabin closed out the scoring with a pair of second-half TDs.