Dropping back in the pocket and stepping up, Travis Lane ’18 fired a pass to Rahmel Dixon ’17 down to Choate’s one-yard line. Moments later, Elijah Aladin ’15 punched the ball in from the goal line to notch Andover Football’s first points of the game with roughly two minutes to go in the fourth quarter.
The momentary success proved meaningless, however, as Andover still fell 56-6, leaving the team with a 0-3 record. Despite the loss, players were still pleased with their performance, as Aladin’s touchdown was the first score that Choate’s defense gave up all season.
“It was kind of a moral victory for our kids, and our team went wild because it was the first time Choate’s been scored on all year,” said Head Coach Leon Modeste.
During the game, Choate’s stout defense stifled Andover’s offensive attack, and Choate’s offense exploited injuries on a banged-up Andover defense. Pre-game challenges came when Post-Graduate cornerback and wide receiver John Riley-McLaughlin ’15 went down with a head injury in warm ups on a collision with a fellow receiver — another tally on Andover’s injury report. The team went into the game missing five key starters.
Captain Rob Needham ’15 said, “We faced some adversity before the game, and Choate is obviously very talented, but you won’t find any excuses coming from this team. We came out flat and stayed flat.”
Andover’s first team offense could not get the ball moving or build any sort of momentum. On the day, Choate held Andover to 227 total yards of offense.
Max Anthony ’15 said, “We didn’t move the ball too well on offense. We have to get more of a push from our offensive line.”
The game was not without its highlights. Many of Andover’s players got a shot on the field for valuable playing experience, and Matt Whalen ’16 spent the day matched up against Choate wide receiver Will Harris ’15, who is committed to Boston College with a burning 4.50 40-yard dash. Whalen held his ground and managed to contain Harris relatively well.
“They were just physically better than us, but we did have some things that went well. Whalen played a fantastic game against [Harris], who is one of the best wide receivers that I’ve ever seen,” said Modeste.
In practice this week, Andover hopes to iron out the kinks on offense, implementing new formations and a more complex route tree.
“We really want to solidify our offensive plan,” Whalen said.
Andover will look for better results when matching up against Cushing later this week.
“At this point, we have to play angry; we have to fear losing… After an undefeated season, you kind of lose your appetite for losing,” said Needham.
Cushing heads into the matchup with a matching 0-3 record. Each team will battle for its first win of the season this Saturday.