After scoring 15 points in the first half, Andover Football’s offense stalled in the second half against Worcester Academy on Saturday, and squandered a narrow 15-14 halftime lead, eventually falling 40-15, which dropped Andover’s record to 3-4 ahead of its regular season finale against Phillips Exeter Academy.
The running game never gained momentum due to Worcester’s talented front seven. The inability to get anything going on the ground forced Andover into throwing deep third down passes, which the team couldn’t convert.
Despite the loss, Andover had strong individual performances – Matt Whalen ’16 finished the game with 101 receiving yards, while quarterback Robert Jones ’16 threw for 142 yards and two touchdowns.
Andover’s defense also struggled with the run. Throughout the matchup, the team had a difficult time containing Worcester’s triple-option offense, where the quarterback often rolled out of the pocket and gave himself three options: to pass the ball downfield, pitch the ball to a trailing running back or tuck the ball and run himself. This kind of offense presented serious matchup problems for Andover, as it hadn’t encountered anything resembling the triple-option this season.
Linebacker Adam Cohen ’18 said, “I thought that we could’ve done a better job containing their triple-option run. We gave them too many opportunities to take the sideline for a big gain.”
Several of Andover’s young players made significant contributions to the team’s performance last weekend, which bodes well for its future.
Cohen recorded a season-high of 18 tackles during the matchup, bringing his average to a team-leading ten tackles per game. In addition, quarterback Sam Conte ’18 found Kevin Milkowski ’18 with a 50-yard pass late in the game.
No longer competing for a playoff berth, Andover is setting its sights on its biggest game of the season against an Exeter team that is 3-4. Despite losing its first four games of the season, Exeter has recovered its form to win its last three games.
Although Andover brings a three game losing streak to Exeter, the players know that their experience will help right the ship. Andover will rely heavily on its seniors for leadership and guidance in order to stay competitive on Saturday.
Cohen added, “We want the seniors to take their leadership role and help us come back from our losing streak. As the game approaches, we’re hoping that everyone is comfortable with what they have to do, and I’m positive that the seniors will help prepare us for a victory.”
“We’re looking to go into Exeter, score some points and not allow many, and hopefully see an extremely rowdy campus after a win,” said Hallvard Lundevall ’16.