MERRILLVILLE | Whenever the region's top two locally-ranked football teams meet, the bleachers should be full, the press box crawling with media and the concessions selling out of everything.
But Saturday's annual Battle of Broadway lacked much of that glamour, having been rescheduled due to Friday night's storms, but still attracted a decent crowd.
And what a game they saw.
John Albomonte picked off Merrillville's DJ Wilkins at the Pirates' 37 with 45.2 seconds remaining to preserve a 34-32 Andrean win that featured a galaxy of stars on both teams.
Despite 12 drive-killing penalties for 85 yards, the 59ers were determined to go home a winner.
"It was something we saw last year," coach Phil Mason said of his team's spirit and resolve. "The greatest thing that happened to us was the Wheeler (sectional) loss, the anguish and hurt we went through, and these kids grew from that."
Matt DeSomer had a four-star evening, throwing for 275 yards and one touchdown and rushing for 191 yards and two more scores.
"He's a squirrel," Mason joked. "He's just fun and I'll tell ya, we were waiting for this (performance)."
Said DeSomer: "I just like football. Before the game, I'm anxious for that first snap to come and then I can relax.
"But it's not just me. It's a team thing, I've just got to drive them."
Trevor Berg scored twice in the wild fourth quarter on short runs. Tylor Petkovich finished with five catches for 78 yards and a TD for Andrean (2-0). Josh Barajas had three receptions for 96 yards before cramping up.
DJ Wilkins threw for 253 yards and favorite target Jonathan Robinson had 10 catches for 197 yards and three touchdowns to keep Merrillville (1-1) in it.
The Pirates had one last chance when they took over at their 18 with 1:21 remaining -- but Albomonte dashed any comeback hopes by intercepting Wilkins at the Merrillville 37 with 45.2 seconds to go.
Merrillville took advantage of Andrean lapses for both its second-quarter scores. Wilkins' 60-yard TD bomb to Tyrie Fuller was set up by a 59ers holding penalty and his 18-yard TD toss to Robinson came compliments of Terrance Grayson's 52-yard kickoff return.