The ability of Captain Jack Ward ’13 to lead his team will be pivotal in the rest of Andover Varsity Football’s season, particularly in the team’s game against Choate this Saturday.
Ward, a four-year Senior from North Hampton, NH, played his first year of football as a freshman on Andover’s JV team. After making the varsity team his Lower year, he has been steadily improving as a football player and was the popular choice for captain this past year.
“I have just tried to be the best football player I could be, and I was honored when I was elected captain by my teammates,” Ward said.
Listed at 6’2’’ and 190 pounds, Ward is able to physically intimidate most defenders. However, Head Coach Leon Modeste stresses Ward’s speed and technique.
“In my 26 years here, I can’t think of a quicker kid off the ball,” said Modeste. “He comes from his interior line stance, and he’s on the other side of the field in a second. Offensively, he’s so quick that some of the bigger guys that are playing against him can’t cover him.”
In Andover’s only regular season game so far against Loomis Chafee, Ward posted 11 tackles. Last year, he averaged 7.3 tackles per game, third best on the team.
Throughout his time at Andover, several different people have tried to help Ward develop into a vital force on the team.
“I have a lot of people that have influenced me, and I owe a lot to those people,” said Ward. “Our coaches have really influenced me, specifically Coach Modeste and Coach [Lou] Bernieri. They have so much passion for the game, and they devote so much effort and time towards the team.”
In the locker room, Ward prefers to lead through his actions as opposed to his words.
“I am all about leading by example because I think that that is the most inspiring way to lead a group. You can preach and talk all you want, but what really motivates a team is inspiration, and I think the best way to inspire is action,” said Ward. “So I just go out, play hard every snap and give the younger guys something to feed off of.”
Modeste said, “He’s probably one of the best defensive tackles that we’ve ever had. Everyone knows about him. The other teams prepare for Jack Ward.”
Ward’s leadership extends beyond the locker room and the field.
“He’s really helped change the culture of the student-football player here on campus. No one’s going to work harder on or off the field than him,” said Modeste.
Although the team began its season with a loss, it looks to improve going forward, and Ward is confident that it will.
“This team is very talented, and I am really excited about where this season takes us. We need to stick together as a group and take this season one game at a time. We have great coaches and great Seniors to lead,” said Ward.
Andover plays Choate this Saturday and has four more games before its season culminates against Exeter on November 10.