After only one season on Andover Football, Will Litton ’19 was elected Co-Captain for his natural leadership qualities and versatility on the field. Litton entered Andover as a new Upper from Wilton, Conn. Having played football since the third grade, Litton is an experienced player who offers advice and support for the younger team members.
According to Head Coach Leon Modeste, Litton is a constant vocal presence on the team, and his talent and leadership are respected by all of his teammates.
“He’s a leader. He’s a straight shooter. He’s honest. He gives you everything everyday. Kids look up to him. The other kids look up to him. As coaches, we respect his opinions and ideas. He’s really everything you want in a captain. He’s a perfect captain. He’s not afraid to tell kids ‘hey, knock it off’ when they’re acting out. He’s not afraid, without making a scene out of it, to say ‘hey we don’t need that here’. He’s done a great job bringing the new students on to the team, whether it be the young students or the Post Graduates, bringing everyone together. The closeness of our team is attributed to Will,” said Coach Modeste.
According to Litton, despite the fact that much of the team is new this year, as the players learn to play with each other they are able to experiment more. Litton currently rotates across three positions and is able to fill various roles on the team, according to Modeste.
“It’s a bunch of new kids, so it takes a while to learn how to play together, but the coaches do a good job helping us do that. Because you get to learn how to play with all of these kids, you kind of experiment in different aspects of the sport, which is kind of cool, and so I’ve been playing new positions because of that. There’s new talent coming in, so you’re expected to do a lot, but at the same time you’re giving them some sort of guidance, so they help you out with that too,” said Litton.
Coach Modeste said, “He’s a very good player. He can play running back, he can play wide receiver, he can play slot receiver. He runs back kicks, he runs back punts, he plays defense at the corner. Years ago, when I played, that’s what you did. That was not unusual. Now it’s unusual to have a multi-faceted player. Will is headed on to play college football, and the coaches where he’s going will be delighted because they can put him anywhere. Wherever they have a need, they’ll put him there, and he can fulfill that need.”
Litton provides a constant supportive presence for his teammates and serves as communicator with the coaches, according to Coach Modeste.
“[Litton] is dedicated to the team concept. It’s not about him; it’s about us all, meaning the coaches, the managers, we’re all on the same page, that’s attributed to Will because he really works for team unity. He really works for the team’s understanding of each other and closeness. He brings us closer. This is a quality that not every captain has,” said Coach Modeste.
Coach Modeste continued, “Some are leaders but are not concerned as much of the individual lives of each individual kid. Will does. Will cares about every kid on the team. He cares about the coaches and managers, and he understands us and knows us. He can see when I’m up or when I’m down, but it’s also because we care about him. We want to know how he’s doing in school, how he’s doing in life. He’s that way too with the other players. When earlier this year we made some cuts, Will called me because he was worried about a kid being down about having to start with JV. Some captains wouldn’t notice that kid because he’s a new kid, he’s young, but Will gave me a holler and pointed it out, so I reached out to the kid. It was good for him to do that, so I could take care of that new student.”
According to new team members Jon Krikorian ’21, Julian Dahl ’22, and Magnus Voge PG ’19, Litton’s thoughtfulness and knowledge of the sport are defining characteristics of his captainship.
Krikorian said, “Will is just an incredible leader, and he’s so helpful to the young guys. He’s just a natural leader, and any coach knows that, the energy that he brings to a team. Not only the energy, but the leadership and he’s incredibly smart about the sport and he seems to always know what to do. He’s very helpful in teaching everyone, especially the younger players, what to do.”
Dahl said, “We have a couple silent leaders on our team, but Will’s definitely not one of them. He’s someone that really gets you motivated. He comes out of nowhere and he’ll just be really enthusiastic or get you really hyped up for games, so that’s definitely his role. He also leads warm-ups. He’s definitely the voice of the team. He tells me to keep my composure… It’s more just being nice to me and kind of welcoming me to the team. He’s a great guy, a great leader, and a great football player. He just does his job really well and everyone on the team respects him.”
“Will is a tremendous athlete, anywhere on the field whether it’s at running back, receiver or defensive back he gets the job done, and he gets it done well. Will is the first guy to point out the teams flaws, but also the first guy to try to fix our flaws. He is constantly trying to improve the team. In practice Will is the leader, he brings the energy and the fire to the team helping people to get excited and get locked in for practice. It’s a unique ability but for a football team a very important one,” wrote Voge in an email to The Phillipian.
Some of Litton’s goals for the season include being a leader who sets the standard for his teammates and encourages the team to take the season one game at a time.
Litton said, “What I try to do is not just lead, but also lead by example, too, so if I’m telling people to do something, I want to make sure I’m doing that as well. I don’t want to seem like I’m being hypocritical if I’m telling guys to not make mistakes when I’m making mistakes, so kind of stay consistent and lead by example as well.”
Litton continued, “I like to think that each goal is to win the game that we prepare for each week… taking the season game-by-game and don’t get overwhelmed by all of the other teams and how they’re doing, just kind of focus on what you need to do each week. That’s one thing that the captains and I like to stress is focus on doing your job every single play, every single week and good results will come.”