Andover Ties Choate Under the Lights 14-14; Forced Turnovers Frequent on Offense

Led by Chris Higgins ’10, who had two crucial interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown, Andover battled to a 14-14 tie against a strong Choate team. After a sudden cancellation of the Tufts game two weeks ago, all of Andover’s focus was turned on the Choate game. Beau Palin ’10, who had two receptions for 26 yards against Choate, said, “We’d been preparing for two weeks and we were ready. However, especially in this league, teams are going to throw curveballs at you, and you have to make mid-game adjustments to survive. We tied not because we were unprepared but because we turned the ball over six times.” The first half featured constant changes of possession, as both teams’ defenses seemed unstoppable. After falling behind 6-0 early, the Andover defense picked up its intensity with a red zone stop, leading to a missed field goal attempt. The stop, which was driven by two huge tackles from Co-captain Zach Boyd ’10, gave Andover a huge momentum shift. Andover struggled early on offense. After the red zone stop, however, the offense found a rhythm by changing to a higher tempo that the Choate defense couldn’t handle. Andover got on the board with a pass to Ed Von Kuhn ’10 in the left front corner of the endzone and an extra point by place kicker James Poss ’10 gave Andover a 7-6 lead. Quarterback Andy Vailas ’10 said, “Our hurry up offense and our power offense worked well. We could have played smash mouth football the whole game if we wanted to.” With the one-point lead entering half-time, both teams’ defenses began to dominate the game again to start the second half. Neither team scored until Higgins picked off a pass from the Choate quarterback and sprinted down the far sideline for a touchdown. After taking a 14-6 lead, the Andover defense continued to play well, led by Co-captain Boyd, who had nine tackles in the game. Coach Leon Modeste was very impressed with the way his defense played. “Our defense played a very sound game,” Modeste said. “We even scored on defense. This game was a tribute to them.” In the last few minutes of the game, however, the defense was not able to hold the eight-point lead. With under five minutes remaining, Choate scored a touchdown and converted on the two point conversion, tying the score at 14-14. The game went into an overtime period, and neither team was able to score. The team was disappointed with the tie. Dan Austin ’10 said, “We go on to the field every Saturday looking to win. Each and every week if we don’t go out there and execute there’s a chance we’re going to lose. Despite the tough end, I’m proud that we never gave up. We kept fighting until the last whistle, but unfortunately we just ran out of time.”