Updated: November 22, 2012 6:37AM
Andrew couldn’t afford to risk its playoff hopes on good fortune.
Entering Friday’s regular-season finale with a 5-3 record, the Thunderbolts needed a road victory at Thornton to cement a postseason berth.
Andrew got what it needed behind an inspired defensive effort, shellacking Thornton 27-0.
Andrew’s defense allowed just 162 yards and set the tone on the first play from scrimmage. Linebacker Bryan Warja recovered a fumble and returned it 10 yards for a score after Thornton muffed a snap just 12 seconds into play.
Andrew (6-3, 5-2) then forced six consecutive three-and-outs before recording an interception by Kevin Walsh on Thornton’s eighth possession before the half.
“It feels great knowing that we’re in (the playoffs),” Walsh said. “We knew they had weapons and we focused on stopping the pass.”
Andrew’s Jarvion Franklin ran for 117 yards on 17 carries, including a 47-yard touchdown sprint off a cutback.
“It means everything,” Franklin said about securing a playoff bid. “We all wanted to bounce back hard after our last two losses.”
Andrew quarterback Jacob Platt did more damage with his legs than with his arm, rushing for 108 yards and two scores.
“We’re blessed to have a team like this,” Platt said. “I wouldn’t trade any of these guys for anyone.”
Platt finished 15-of-26 for 157 yards. Zack Klockowski caught three of Platt’s passes for 37 yards, including a spectacular one-handed catch over the middle for a first down on third-and-10.
Thornton (7-2, 6-1) had its winning streak snapped at six. Jauan Wesley led Thornton with five catches for 47 yards.