On the second play of the game, Jack Belluche ’16 hauled in a long pass from Robert Jones ’16 and outran several Loomis defenders before finding the endzone to put Andover ahead 7-0 early. Belluche opened the scoring for Andover Football against Loomis Chaffee on Saturday, and the team went on to win its season opener by a 49-35 margin.
Andover’s dynamic offense led the way and Jones was the standout performer. He ran for three touchdowns and threw for four, and established a strong chemistry with his wide receivers.
The offense roared off to a strong start right away, with Belluche opening the floodgates and Jones following up soon after with a 57-yard rushing touchdown. By the end of the first quarter, Andover led Loomis 21-7.
Andover began to let up on defense in the second half, allowing Loomis to tie the game at 35, but Jones and the offense kept the pressure on the Loomis defense. Andover scored 14 straight unanswered points to end the game.
Andover’s Post-Graduate (PG) receivers shined in their first games in an Andover uniform, with Hallvard Lundevall ’16 grabbing two touchdowns and Ben Anthony ’16 notching a touchdown reception of his own.
“We did a good job running a balanced offense and that’s what you want. You don’t want teams to be able to predict what you’re doing on offense and we did a great job with that. Hopefully, we can maintain that balance on offense,” said Head Coach Leon Modeste.
Another offensive highlight was the performance of kicker Alex Apgar ’17, who just started playing football a few months prior. Apgar converted five out of six extra points, showing a natural talent for the position.
On the defensive side, Andover’s Co-Captains and linebackers Jumaane Ford ’16 and John Simourian ’16 led a resilient front seven that repelled the Loomis offense throughout the game. Simourian notched eight tackles and two sacks, while forcing a safety.
A mixture of young talent and veteran players anchored the line, with Adam Cohen ’18 working seamlessly alongside PG linemen Joseph Scibelli ’16 and Scot Gladstone ’16. Anthony capped off the game with a decisive interception in the waning seconds of the game.
Although Andover walked away with a victory, there were several aspects to improve on for the future.
At times, the offensive line struggled to mesh effectively with running back James Antoine ’16, limiting running back’s performance on the ground. Andover rushed for 200 yards in 30 attempts, but 125 of those yards came from Jones. Furthermore, Andover struggled with completing tackles on defense and finishing the play.
“The team held off against a fast-paced and aggressive offense. Our defense was quick to the ball, while we could have wrapped up more on our tackling. All together, I see a really good season ahead of us,” said Wilbert Garcia ’17.
Antoine added, “Next game, I want us to go in hitting harder, running faster, and being more explosive on offense.”
Andover travels to Kent on Saturday for its second game of the season.