Big Blue Football Knocks Out NMH, Prepares for Showdown with Deerfield

Following back to back losses in the past two weeks, the Andover Football Team rallied Saturday afternoon to defeat North Field Mount Hermon 12-3. With just three games left to play in the regular season, the Big Blue surged above the five-hundred mark once more and improved to a respectable 3-2 record. While the score did not indicate a blowout, the Big Blue clearly out-played its opponent. Although the Hoggers are known for an impressive offense, NMH found itself struggling to put points on the scoreboard. The Andover defense, which has had an up and down performance this season, turned in an outstanding effort – allowing Northfield to score only one field goal. The defensive line placed ample pressure on the NMH quarterback and denied him the option of finding either of his starting wide receivers, who both exceeded six-foot five inches. When the quarterback managed to pass the ball, cornerback Winston Shaw ’05 did a remarkable job of shutting down the wide-outs. Kicker Denys Levin ’05 also punted extremely well. Unlike in some recent contests, the offense complimented the defense nicely. It succeeded in putting sufficient points on the board and moved the ball well. In addition, Co-Captain and linebacker Evan Platt ’06 absolutely dominated the Northfield offense. With Joey Lokitis ’06 sidelined due to an injury, the Big Blue turned to a different Joey to lead the team. Post-graduate Joey Furnari ’05 (formerly a wide out and a running back) got the starting nod at quarterback, and proceeded to trample all over the Northfield defense. About Furnari, Coach Modeste said, “He played quarterback at his high school last year because someone got hurt. He did a nice job then, and he did a great job this weekend. Because he can both throw and run, he contributes to the team in a unique way. Right away it gives us another running back in the backfield; last week it worked out for us, NMH simply wasn’t ready for it.” Running backs Jerrel Smith ’05 and Matt Ward ’06 combined with Furnari for just under a collective 300 yards on the day. Tomorrow, the Big Blue faces one of its biggest challengers – the Big Green. The Deerfield Football team is simply tremendous. It holds a 4-1 record, only losing to NMH in the first game of the season. But, as coach Modeste put it, “That was a blip.” Deerfield has a strong offense and a talented running back who rushed for a remarkable 300 yards on 40 carries last week against Exeter. On defense, the Big Blue will need to efficiently tackle its opponent and keep Deerfield’s running back from playing as well as he did against Exeter. The game starts at 2:30 tomorrow afternoon. The Andover Barbeque society will be grilling, Blue Keys will be cheering, and if all goes well, the Boys in Blue will be winning.