In front of a large contingent of fans excited for the Family Weekend football game, Andover ended the third quarter down 31-21 against Suffield. Andover Football answered this deficit with a heroic 21-point comeback in the fourth quarter to defeat Suffield 42-31. This result shifted Andover’s record to 4-1.
The prominence of the weekend held sway in the mental compositions of the players, according to Head Coach Leon Modeste.
Coach Modeste said, “Playing in front of your real blood, your family members, was a big incentive for our guys.”
Andrew Antonucci ’18 wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “[What allowed us to win was that] we just kept playing as we were and managed to come out on top.”
“We came back by focusing on playing our brand of football. We didn’t rush anything or try to play like somebody we weren’t,” added Michael Codrington ’18.
Coach Modeste added, “Only thing we stressed was ‘stay together.’ If we go up, we stay together. Just keep going. Don’t get too crazed… We kept answering, and then they kept answering until the fourth quarter, [when] we scored 21 points. Our kids were getting stronger as the game went on.”
Statistically, Co-Captain Adam Cohen ’18 performed very well, setting a team record of 15 solo tackles. Antonucci also had an impressive kickoff return. After fumbling the ball, he was able to reach the offensive 35-yard line.
“Even though I fumbled, I knew I had enough time to regain my composure and then follow my blockers,” said Antonucci.
According to Codrington, keeping the chains moving was also key in Andover’s victory. He said, “The go-ahead touchdown run by [Post-Graduate Zach Geddes ’18] wouldn’t have been made possible unless we converted [on] crucial third and fourth down opportunities. That touchdown run on a fourth and three gave Andover the lead, 33-31, late in the fourth quarter. Over the course of the game, Geddes earned 271 passing yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions.”
According to Codrington, this year’s game was reminiscent of last year’s loss to Suffield. Codrington wrote in a text, “Last year, we lost to Suffield on a kickoff, and [this time] we were determined to stop their return game.”
When faced with a kickoff return, Andover had a penalty called in its favor, stopping the return short.
With minutes left on the clock, Cohen forced a fumble, and Will Litton ’19 sealed the game by securing the ball and rushing for another touchdown off the fumble to extend Andover’s lead.
Although both Andover’s offense and defense played well, the special teams had initial troubles dealing with several miscommunications. This provided several aspects of improvement for the remainder of the season.
Coach Modeste said, “We did not execute, did not block very well on kickoffs, kickoff returns… we need to work on [them] in practice.”
Antonucci said, “I have no doubt that we’ll win out the rest of the season… Suffield was our last real competition.”
Going into the final three games of the season, Codrington said, “We’re right where we want to be in the standings.”
This Sunday, Andover will face off against Deerfield.