Led by shutdown defense and an effective running game, Andover came out with a lopsided 41-7 victory against Cushing in Andover’s first home game on Saturday. ?After three straight weeks on the road, the team entered the game excited. “There was a lot of positive energy generated from the fans, and we were pleased for the great turn out,” said Anthony Morlani ’09. ?Andover took an early lead, scoring on the first drive of the game. Sam Auffant ’09 broke several tackles and scampered into the end zone for a 44-yard touchdown. Andover’s defense forced a three and out, and once again, its running game took over. Eddie Houghton ‘09 took a handoff to the left side 25 yards into the end zone for the second Andover touchdown of the quarter. Auffant then intercepted a Cushing pass over the middle just before the end of the quarter to set up the offense at the 40-yard line. Kevin Paul ’10 added both extra points, giving Andover a 14-0 lead.?In the second quarter, Andover turned the turnover into points, as Andover advanced the ball into the red zone for a first and goal situation. From the two yard line, Houghton pushed the pile for a short yardage touchdown. Andover led 21-0 after the Paul extra point.?The Andover defense continued to shut down the Cushing offense, and forced the opposition to punt numerous times. The Andover offense took these punts and continued to score at will. Auffant burned the Cushing defense around the right corner for his second touchdown of the game, and Hussey tossed a screen to the right to Sam Clark ’09 for another touchdown. Andover entered the half with a commanding 35-0 lead. ?Cushing started off the second half strong, with a long touchdown pass on its first drive. But the Andover offense answered with a touchdown pass of its own. Several runs set up Andover at the Cushing 17-yard line. Hussey connected with Luke Duprey ’10 on a corner route for the score, putting Andover up 41-7. ?With the game under control, Andover gave some younger and less experienced players time on the field. Facing Cushing’s first string, Sam Dodge ’09, Charlie DiGiulian ’10 and Ryan Gaiss ’11 all made significant contributions to the running game in the fourth quarter. Malcolm Mason Rodriguez ’11 was impressive filling in at cornerback. ?Andover’s defense was critical to the team’s success. While amassing four sacks, the defense also put constant pressure on the quarterback and shutdown the running game all night. ?“The athletes on the front line are so good at getting into the backfield. We are a very strong and fast defense,” said Bobby Vardaro ’10.?The running game also proved effective. Houghton once again topped 100 yards, with 199, and Auffant added 124 yards of his own. Credit for this kind of success can be attributed to the play of the offensive line. “Our offensive line was as unstoppable as we had predicted ourselves to be. We dominated the line of scrimmage,” said Vardaro. ?The fiery effort on both sides of the ball led Andover to a 41-7 blowout. ?This week, Andover will be on the road to play 3-1 NMH, who will feature an explosive passing offense. “We will try to force NMH to run, which isn’t their strength,” said Coach Mo. Andover hopes to make it two wins in a row against a team it defeated last year 42-15.?