Football: Andover Falters Defensively Against Choate

Despite a late 18–yard touchdown run from Andrew Antonucci ’18, Andover Football fell 49-7 to Choate Rosemary Hall on Saturday, which dropped its record to 0-3 on the season.

Head Coach Leon Modeste said, “We’re disappointed we couldn’t execute as much as we wanted to. We did see some good things and some people are improving, but as a team we have to get better.”

The game was a struggle for Andover from the beginning. Early in the game, the offense had difficulty holding onto the ball and relinquished two quick turnovers, both of which led to touchdowns for Choate. Choate then used that momentum to begin piling on points, finishing the first half with a commanding 46-0 advantage over Andover.

Despite the large deficit it faced, Andover was determined to make the most of the second half.

“At halftime, [the team] said, ‘This game is going to be tough to win. So, let’s go out and start to get some first downs, some stops on them, try and prevent them from scoring,’ ” said Modeste.

A Choate field goal early in the third quarter added to its score, but Andover soon improved its play by producing steadier and more consistent efforts on both sides of the ball.

“We did clean it up towards the end; we became more team-orientated,” said Post–Graduate (PG) Jaeden Washington ’17.

Adam Cohen ’18 led the team with 17 tackles, which helped Andover’s defense hold Choate scoreless for the remainder of the game. The special teams unit especially excelled, with PGs Turner Corbett ’17 and Will Sirmon ’17 both notching several long kicks and punt returns.

“The highlight was our special teams unit. We really came together,” said Michael Codrington ’18.

A series of strong drives from Andover’s offense was capped by the emphatic late-game effort of Antonucci’s touchdown to prevent a shutout of the Andover offense.

“I love our kids, and I love the way they compete. They never quit,” said Modeste. “That’s how we scored in the fourth quarter. The kids didn’t quit, kept working and working, and got better during the game, even if – by then – the game was out of hand.”

Even with its energized effort, Andover’s push was too little, too late.

Rahmel Dixon ’17 said, “We just didn’t execute well, and a team like Choate will capitalize on our mistakes.”

Bolstered by Andover’s early turnovers, Choate’s hot start allowed it to take complete control of the game and never look back. Meanwhile, struggled to consistently produce on offense and was unable to stem the stream of points from Choate.

“Choate simply outplayed us,” said Washington. “We played sloppy.”

Andover’s loss bolstered Choate’s record to 40 so far this year; it hasn’t lost a regular season game since 2013. Andover will play at home against Cheshire Academy this Saturday.

“It’ll be a good challenge for us against Cheshire this weekend,” said Modeste. “They’re going to be very similar to Choate in their skill and size, but we’re hoping that we can execute a little better and get some more spark on our offense.”

Codrington said, “We’re confident that if we have a good week of practice and come together as a team that the big things will take care of themselves.”