Football Looks Good in Scrimmages Against DA and Cushing; Seniors DeLuca, Cadet, and Ambrosi Average Over 8 YPC

The Andover Football team traveled to Cushing last Saturday to scrimmage both the host Penguins and the Deerfield Green. The goals of the scrimmages were to get everyone’s timing down with some game situations and atmosphere, to get some full contact hitting in before the first game, as well as to give the younger kids a chance to respond to varsity competition. Each scrimmage was broken up into a set of ten offensive plays for each team, with coaches on field, followed by a full quarter played under game conditions. As with a scrimmage, the scores did not count, but Andover, with the bulk of its starters playing, came away on the plus side of a 14-7 score in the quarter against Cushing and put in the younger players and backups en route to playing Deerfield to a scoreless tie. The first impressions of the day were collectively positive, and the team understands that much work has yet to be done. Though the referees were somewhat light on the whistle and offered informal suggestions instead of immediately calling penalties, the coaches were pleased with only one penalty called against the Blue. With Deerfield and Cushing looking to be two of the tougher opponents on the schedule, the offensive playcalling was “as plain, vanilla, and unexciting as we could possibly make it,” according to Coach Modeste, to avoid showing too much of the gameplan and weaponry. However, the rushing trio of post-gradutes Anthony Ambrosi ’07, Luke DeLuca ’07, and Gigi Cadet ’07 still ran for over 110 yards in just thirteen carries during the scrimmage against Cushing. The two bigger backs, DeLuca and Cadet, feature an effective downhill, hard-hitting style that makes them hard to drag down, mixing well with Ambrosi’s great open field speed, shiftiness, and vision. Co-Captain QB Will Sherrill ’07 showed a rocket of an arm, and also took the opportunity to work on changing counts and calling audibles in a game situation, as well as running a two-minute drill. PA’s two touchdowns both came on nearly-identical passes to Austin Monahan ’07 in the back right of the end zone. Co-Captain Sherrill demonstrated nice accuracy from the pocket and spun two high spiraling beauties to the leaping, outstretched Monahan, who managed to stay in bounds. Co-Captain Sherrill’s command of the offense showed in its smooth look and efficiency, while Coach Modeste remarked, “Will’s got a real high football IQ; he knows what everyone’s doing on every play.” Andover established the line of scrimmage well on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, despite the absence of starter Matt Gaske ’08. Martin Serna ’07 stepped up nicely at defensive tackle, helping Co-Captain Casey Shannon ’07 lead the swarming defense that impressively held Cushing to 29 yards on the ground on 14 carries. “We were very encouraged by the defense,” said Coach Modeste. “The middle played well, and the perimeter needs some work. They need to maintain and contain the offense, but the guys know that and how to do it.” Showing what is to come this season, the defense was concentrated in a 4-4 formation to play to its strength at linebacker. Co-Captain Peter Casey ’07 and Wood shut down the middle of the field with DeLuca and Cadet, and getting Chad Hollis ’08 back from injury this week to play a shutdown corner role will further help the Big Blue defense. PA takes the road trip to Loomis Chaffee tomorrow to kick off the 2006 season, and is sure not to underestimate the new-look Pelicans. Loomis has revamped its program after a winless season last year with the additions of a new coach, a new offense, and a new turf stadium, to go along with a strong QB.. Coach Modeste added, “There will be first game jitters for sure, there will be some penalties, but we have to play our game and contain them, because it’s going to be a good test.”