Six Turnovers Prove Costly for Andover Football; Rankowitz ’11 Catches 7 for 142 Yards

Three plays into Andover’s home opener, Tommy Shannon ’12 hit Brendan Rankowitz ’11 on a long fade pattern for a touchdown to give Andover the early 7-0 lead. It was all downhill from there as six interceptions halted Andover drives and allowed Cushing to head home with a 42-20 win. “We can’t give them the ball six times in one game,” said Coach Modeste. “High school football is all about turnovers, and there’s no way to win with that many of them.” Andover started off strong on the first offensive series, as Shannon completed a pass to Ben Green ’11, following up with the touchdown pass to Rankowitz. Rankowitz has become Shannon’s go-to guy early on this season, as he added to his already impressive numbers with seven catches and 142 yards against Cushing. “On all of my catches, especially the touchdown, the offensive line did a great job with their pass blocking and helped Tommy have enough time to get rid of the ball,” said Rankowitz. Cushing responded with a touchdown late in the first quarter to put a quick end to Andover’s lead. Andover got the ball back but turned it over on an interception, allowing Cushing to score again on a 16-yard run. After another interception in the middle of the second quarter, Cushing scored again on a deep pass, taking a 21-7 lead. Andover was given an opportunity to score late in the first half but turned the ball over on downs inside of the five-yard line. “That was a crucial point in the game,” said Modeste. “We could have gone into halftime down by only seven points, but we just ran out of downs.” Cushing received the ball at the beginning of the second of half, but Andover was able to come up with a stop, for a three and out. Shannon finished off a great offensive drive by scoring on a one-yard keeper, which brought the game back within reach. Between the third and fourth quarters Andover turned the ball over three times, all on interceptions, which led to three unanswered touchdowns by Cushing, crushing Andover’s hopes at a late game comeback. “I didn’t think the touchdowns were really the defense’s fault,” said Modeste. “I felt like we had an excellent defensive day, but it’s really tough when you have opposing drives starting at your 25-yard line.” Andover’s offense kept pushing late in the game, and Max Lippe ’11 scored a 16-yard touchdown on a counter. Lippe also saw his first action at quarterback of the season, completing one pass for 22 yards. Andover recovered an onside kick after the touchdown, but they were unable to score again and ended the game at 42-20. Despite allowing 42 points, the defense was hardly at fault, holding Cushing to just 281 yards opposed to Andover’s 464 total yards. “It’s clear that our game plan works,” said Modeste. “We just need to work on the turnovers.” Andover will hopefully be able make adjustments this week as it prepares for its game at NMH on Saturday. Despite the loss of an injured TJ Hickey ’11, Andover will also look to the return of Joe Kruy ’12 to give the Andover offense a much needed spark. “Joe, with his strength and quickness, has the ability to run the ball for huge gains and make big plays for us” said Modeste.