With Andover holding onto a one-point lead in the fourth quarter, Ian Maag ’14 dropped back in the pocket and lofted a touchdown pass to Matt Ilalio ’14, effectively winning the game.
Andover Football defeated Kent 20-13 last Saturday, improving its record to 2-0 this season. The two-game winning streak is Andover’s longest since 2009.
In addition to his fourth quarter touchdown to Ilalio, Maag completed 76 percent of his passes for 156 yards.
Ryder Stone ’14 rushed for 84 yards on 18 carries and helped keep the Kent defense off-balance. Stone scored a timely touchdown with 41 seconds left in the first half, giving Andover momentum into halftime.
“The linemen were creating big holes and giving me space to run,” said Ilalio. “Even on my receiving touchdown, the line protected Ian [Maag] well and let him throw the ball to me.”
For the second week in a row, Andover gave up only two touchdowns, one of which was a special teams miscue. Andover’s stout defense held Kent’s offense at bay for most of the game.
“Our kids rose to the occasion, and we had two fourth-and-inches stops in the fourth quarter, which really hurt them,” said Head Coach Leon Modeste. “The key has been the ability to pressure the passer and to stop the run. We’ve been pretty effective stopping long runs. [Kent] was able to break us a few times, but for the most part, we were able to keep them from making the big play.”
“[The game against Kent] was a really hard fought game, and it was pretty even. We both played really well but we had some really good plays and it was a really good game overall,” added Stone.
Middle linebacker Michael Moore ’14 led the team with 16 tackles. In addition, Ilalio had nine tackles himself. The two halted most of Kent’s rushing offense during the game.
Regarding the effect that Ilalio has had on this year’s team, Modeste said, “Matt has really emerged as the soul of this team, along with our Captains. He brings energy both offensively and defensively that a team needs to win. He can run the ball, he plays pass defense—he picked a pass off, scored two touchdowns. He’s just one of those guys. He’s a complete football player.”
Despite the team’s recent success, there is still much room for improvement. “We’ve got to work on our conditioning and discipline,” said Ilalio. “We had a couple unnecessary penalties, and the score that the defense gave up was because we weren’t disciplined and were in the wrong spots.”
“We’re going to work on our execution,” added Stone. “We were a little sloppy and had a few penalties, but we’re looking to sharpen up and have a good game against Choate.” Andover hopes these adjustments will propel it to a victory against Choate on Saturday and maintain its winning streak.