Football: Andover Falls Short in Season Opener

At a critical goal line stand, Brandon Barros ’17 leapt into the air for an interception, producing a turnover against Loomis Chaffee during last Saturday’s game. Barros’s 30-yard sprint out of Andover Football’s end zone, though, wasn’t enough for the team to come back, losing its season-opening game 20-10.

Although the final score did not fall in its favor, Andover played stout defense and showed promise on offense, despite being plagued by turnovers.

Barros said, “We just have to capitalize on our opportunities more. We had a lot of great drives but we couldn’t finish. We fought real hard the entire game, but we made a lot of mistakes that we have to address.”

Head Coach Leon Modeste said, “I would say that a theme of this game is that we left a lot of stuff on the table. We got down to their red zone four times, but only scored one touchdown.”

Andover was the first to score in the game against Loomis. Quarterback Stephen Hedberg ’17 rocketed a long pass to Austin Meyers ’17, setting Alex Apgar ’17 up for a field goal. Loomis answered Apgar’s field goal with a touchdown drive, and by the end of the opening quarter, Andover trailed 7-3.

In the second quarter, Loomis rapidly increased its lead, scoring two field goals to bring the score to 13-3. Andover answered with its first touchdown of the season on a quarterback sneak by Hedberg to cut the lead to three in the third quarter.

Barros produced the turnover late in the fourth quarter, but Andover fumbled the football on the subsequent offensive play. Andover’s inability to capitalize gave Loomis great field possession late in the game.

Although the team had some overarching issues, there were instances of fantastic play. Andover’s defense held particularly strong; Adam Cohen ’18 led the way with 16 tackles and Jaeden Washington ’17 followed with 10.

Coach Modeste said, “One of the things we did well last week was we defended our pass well, and defended our passer very well. Our quarterback did not get sacked. Our line did a nice job protecting [him].”

Coach Modeste suggested that the team’s unfamiliarity with high-pressure situations contributed to the loss.

“This was [Loomis’s] third game and our first game. We were not in sync. The first game is always tough, because it’s the first thing that really matters. Scrimmages and practices help, but it doesn’t give you the real experience, with the adrenaline and scorekeeping. We have to work on that,” said Coach Modeste.

Johnny Rex ’17 said, “I think that if we held our blocks and committed to our linemen duties we could’ve opened up more holes for the running backs and put more points on the board.”

At practice this week, Andover hopes to improve its running game, as it was rendered ineffective

At practice this week, Andover will work on its running game, since it was not as effective as it could have been against Loomis. Defensively, the team looks to improve the pressure it puts on the quarterback, working on pass rush each practice.

The next two weeks will be incredibly challenging for Andover, as it will face two of the best teams in the league: Salisbury and Choate. Despite the odds, Coach Modeste is confident in his players’ ability to fight until the very end.

Coach Modeste said, “Being an underdog has never deterred Andover athletes. We rise to the challenge and enjoy testing ourselves against the best.”