Andover Football won two out of seven games last season, improving upon the record from the 2011 team, which went winless over seven games.
With a strong core of upperclassmen who have been with the team for many years along with eight recruited Post-Graduates (PGs), Andover will try to make the transition to an elite team in the NEPSAC League.
Following the graduation of last year’s quarterback Joey Verhaegh ’13, Ian Maag ’14, a PG from Marblehead, Mass., will assume the position and look to improve on last year’s average of 19 points per game.
Maag’s passing game will be complemented with a strong rushing attack, spearheaded by Ryder Stone ’14, Matt Ilalio ’14 and Mike Moore ’14. Michael DeLaus ’14 and Alec Tolentino ’14 will join the trio of PGs in the backfield.
Stone had two rushing touchdowns in Wednesday’s scrimmage against BB&N. Andover shut out BB&N 29-0 in just over two quarters of play.
The scrimmage format was 24 plays for each team—12 for the first-team offense and 12 for the second-team offense. Organized plays were followed by two quarters of live football. Andover scored 14 points in 24 plays, and 15 in live play.
In an effort to combat the dynamic offenses of NEPSAC teams, Andover will be more aggressive defensively, attempting more blitzes. When the defense sends more players towards the backfield, the safeties and cornerbacks will take on more responsibility.
“We have two big rules on defense: play fast and play physical,” said Rob Needham ’15.
Needham, who recorded four sacks in the last four games of the season at defensive end, expressed his excitement for the start of the season. “We just want to forget last season, use everyone who we have and get down and play some football,” said Needham.
DeWitt Burnham ’16, who will spend most of his time at safety, discussed the top-to-bottom strength of the defense. “We have a good line, strong linebackers and a secondary that is ready to take on a lot of responsibility.”
“Our keys to playing strong defense are simple: we want to attack the offense, and we’re not going to back down from anyone,” said Nick DiAdamo ’15.
“Our defense looks stacked all the way around this year, and I’m really excited to play football with these guys,” said Jumaane Ford ’16. Ford, who will start at cornerback, had an interception in the BB&N scrimmage.
Co-Captain Tyler Marshall ’14, a linebacker, said, “Everything is finally coming together. From Ryder [Stone] in the backfield to Matt [Ilalio] at safety, we finally have a really complete team.”
DiAdamo, who scored on a long pass on a wheel route from the slot, said, “We’d love to bring a winning season back to Andover, and if there is any team to do it, it’s us.”
Andover will kick off the regular season at home on September 21 against Loomis Chaffee.