By: Ananda Kao, Jennifer Lee, Andy Kim, Nithish Kalpat, Reuben Philip, and Anjunae Chandran.
Quarterback: Steve Hedberg
Post-Graduate (PG) Steve Hedberg ’17 is commanding Andover Football’s offense this season as a left-handed quarterback. Hailing from Dover, N.H., Hedberg is the first lefty quarterback Head Coach Leon Modeste has ever had on his team. Hedberg brings 13 years of experience to Andover.
Teammate Colton Fahey ’19 said, “Steve has a really strong arm and can throw the long ball very accurately. He also has the speed to get out of the pocket and take off.”
Hedberg arrived at Andover from St. Thomas Aquinas High School, where he set New Hampshire’s all-time record for passing touchdowns among public high schools. At Andover, Hedberg is continuing to improve upon the skills he developed at St. Thomas High.
Coach Modeste said, “[Hedberg’s] got a good release, a really quick release. He’s playing at a higher level now than what he played before and he can’t be flat footed. But, that’s why he is here – to work on that.”
Although defined by his powerful arm on the field, Hedberg is also a supportive teammate both on and off the field. Fahey said, “Steve is a good teammate and never yells or criticizes someone for their mistakes. Steve brings a positive energy and good sense of humor to the team.”
Hedberg hopes to make an impact on the team this year and ultimately lead it to a successful season. He said, “My goal for this season is to bring a championship to Andover Football.”
Wide Receiver: William Sirmon
As a wide receiver, strong safety, and punter, William Sirmon ’17 will use his communication skills and playing experience to help make Andover Football a potent offensive unit in his Post-Graduate (PG) year.
In an email to The Phillipian, Larson Tolo ’18 wrote, “Will brings incredible skill and a unique personality to the team dynamic. He is a role model for the younger kids on the team to look up to.”
Sirmon is a valuable asset to the team because of his sheer strength and tenacity.
Head Coach Leon Modeste said, “Now everyone has seen what Will can do, and he can do more. And he can do more. As the season goes on and he becomes more comfortable, he will get better. He’s really a top-notch receiver.”
This season, Sirmon looks to step up as a leader on the team, be a role model to the younger players, and help keep everyone focused.
“Will makes the game fun to play as he mixes the intensity of perfecting each responsibility with an infectious smile and easygoing demeanor,” said Tolo.
Sirmon will help set an example for his teammates by constantly working hard.
Sirmon said, “I hope to make an impact at wide receiver and the defensive back position, while also punting. My main goal for the season is for the team to be as successful as it can be and hopefully win the championship.”
Defensive Guard: James Nash
James Nash ’17, a seasoned football player from Toronto, will play an integral role on both the offensive and defensive lines as a Post-Graduate (PG) for Andover Football this year.
Nash began playing football at the age of 12 and has continued playing the sport ever since. He played four years of football at his old high school and now hopes to enhance his skills at Andover.
“I came to [Andover] for a PG year because I wanted another year of development both physically and academically, so I can more effectively transition to university,” said Nash.
Described as a “big kid” by Head Coach Leon Modeste, Nash is known for his size and his ability.
Coach Modeste said, “He did a great job getting in shape for this summer. He’s looks like a different kid from what we saw in the spring. He’s going to do a really great job on the defensive line for us.”
Nash has high hopes for the season, both for himself and for the team.
“I hope to contribute whatever I can to the team and do whatever Coach Mo and Coach Lou want from me,” he said. “My expectations for the team are that we will perform well and our goal is to win the championship.”
Running Back: T.J. Urbanik
A football veteran who has honed his craft since the second grade, Theodore (T.J.) Urbanik ’17 is looking to showcase his 12 seasons of experience with the sport in his Post-Graduate (PG) year at Andover.
Urbanik’s explosive agility, fluid footwork, and durable weight of 185 pounds gives him the perfect build for a running back.
His most successful season of football came in one of his final years at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, New Hampshire.
Head Coach Leon Modeste said, “T.J. Urbanik [was] one of the leading rushers in New England two years ago.”
“I am most comfortable as a running back because that’s what I’ve always played since I was young,” said Urbanik.
Although Urbanik has mostly played as a running back, he is also adept as both a cornerback and a wideout.
“He’s really one of the most versatile kids we have,” said Coach Leon Modeste.
“I mean he can play offense and defense, catch balls, run balls – you know, everything,” continued Modeste.
Along with his healthy physical game, Urbanik also goes into every game with a winning mentality.
“My attitude going into every game is confidence in myself and my team,” said Urbanik.
With Urbanik joining an arsenal of Football Post-Graduates, the team looks to put itself on the right track for a successful season.
Defensive Guard: John O’Brien
Having graduated from the nearby St. John’s Prep, John O’Brien ’17 looks to bolster the offensive and defensive lines of Andover Football in his Post-Graduate (PG) year. Although he only picked up the sport in high school, O’Brien was eager to compete with some of the top schools in New England when the opportunity arose.
O’Brien said, “I played football for, well five years. I never played as a kid, and I started as a freshman. I went to St. John’s Prep and really just had a hang of football.”
Much of O’Brien’s success can be attributed to his size. Standing at an imposing height of 6’3’’ and weighing 240 pounds, O’Brien utilizes his physical size to tackle and block the toughest of competitors.
At Andover, O’Brien has already impressed Head Coach Leon Modeste despite suffering a minor injury in the team’s second scrimmage.
Coach Modeste said, “He is doing a fine job. He’s nicked up right now, but he’ll heal. It’s a cut so somebody on the other team must have had some chinstrap or something else get caught on him. It’s unfortunate because he’s a great player, but it’ll heal.”
Despite his minor injury, O’Brien is looking forward to the season with his teammates.
O’Brien said, “I’m very excited for this season –should be a lot of fun. I love the guys.”
Line Backer: Jaeden Washington
Jaeden Washington ’17, a linebacker and fullback hailing from Ontario, is hoping to make the most out of an extra year as a Post-Graduate (PG).
Standing at 5’9” and 225 pounds, Washington will be anchoring Andover Football’s defense in its linebacking corps, working both on the line and in coverage. On offense, he also potentially will have an opportunity to make an impact offensively as a fullback.
Head Coach Leon Modeste said, “He’s going to be a linebacker for us and he could even play fullback. Powerful, powerful kid.”
Washington is looking to improve not only as an athlete but also academically to prepare for his academic future. He also hopes that American football will increase his adaptability and push him overall as an athlete.
Washington said, “Coming to a school like Andover, it obviously takes its toll academically but it pushes us to stay on top of our work and makes us better students. This year at Andover will definitely help my transition into university as a student.”
“On the football [side of things], Andover plays a highly competitive schedule in a very tough league, which will push me to perform at a higher level as a football player. The speed of American football is much faster paced and I personally feel the competition is much better [than Canadian football], so this extra year of football will ultimately help me develop into a smoother and more versatile athlete leading into university,” he continued.
Running Back: Turner Corbett
Texas State Champion at Forth Worth All Saints High School, star running back Turner Corbett ’17 has the potential to tear up his competition this year as a Post-Graduate (PG) with Andover Football.
After winning a championship in his senior year, Corbett decided to pursue one more year of high school football before playing at a collegiate level.
He said, “My dad, when I was growing up, used to always talk about Andover and Exeter. I never really knew what they were, but as we started to look into a PG year, Andover and Exeter were two of the schools we looked at… Andover turned out to be the best fit.”
Corbett’s talent has not gone unappreciated at Andover. Head Coach Leon Modeste said, “He’s a tremendous running back. He’s very fast, powerful, and quick in small spaces. He’s also an excellent student. He got into UChicago and Rice, and he’s really exactly what you want. He also stands out as a leader.”
Already committed to play college football, Corbett is entirely invested in the Andover program.
“I’m really glad to be here and have met a ton of new people on the team. I’m still meeting new guys on the whole team. I’m really just excited to be a part of the Andover family and couldn’t be more glad to be here,” said Corbett.
Tackle: Gardener Gendron
Weighing in at 270 pounds, 6’5” Post-Graduate (PG) Gardner Gendron ’17 will be an asset to Andover Football’s offense and defense this year. Hailing from Bedford, N.H., Gendron’s physique enables him to deliver impactful tackles.
Unfortunately, Gendron entered the season with a devastating broken cuboid bone in his foot, preventing him from participating in most of the coming season.
“His safety and his well-being is more important than playing in one game. We just want him to get well for his own sake,” said Head Coach Leon Modeste.
Gendron’s brother, Colby Gendron ’18, who shares the same athletic build, is also a new member of the team, playing both tackle and defensive end.
Despite his injury, Gardner Gendron is an enthusiastic teammate, supporting the team from the sidelines in both scrimmages against Brooks and BB&N.
“One of the great things about Andover is that [when] these kids like Gardner can’t play, [they’re always] psyched as all heck to be here at Andover,” added Coach Modeste.
Wide Receiver: Austin Myers
Joining Andover Football this fall is Post-Graduate Austin Myers ’17, a powerful force on both offense and defense. Weighing in at 180 pounds on a 6’2” frame, Myers plays as both a wide receiver and a defensive back.
Myers’s notable vertical jump allows him to receive high balls and outplay his opponents.
“He’s got good ups. He can get up and he catches the ball with his hands, not with his pads or something like that,” said Head Coach Leon Modeste.
Myers also possesses incredible speed on the pitch.
“[He’s] really swift on the field so expect to see him make big plays for us this year,” said teammate Will Nuga ’17.
Although Myers may be new to Andover Football, he is quickly adjusting to the team and its different tactics.
“[He’s also a] pretty fast learner [in terms of] understanding new/changing playbook and concepts,” said Nuga.
Andover Football is looking forward to a promising season with Myers, starting this Saturday in an opening game against Loomis Chaffee.