Andover Football Gives Up Lead to Suffield in Final Minutes

Despite Andover Football rushing for a touchdown with less than a minute left in the game, Suffield rallied back on its final drive and returned the kickoff to the 30 yard line. The opponents proceeded to kick a field goal, defeating Andover 37-35 in a nail-biting spectacle on Saturday. Andover’s record now stands at 0-5.

Co-Captain Keegan Cummings ’17 wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “I think in the last game against Suffield, we really showed our talent and true ability. However, we didn’t close the deal and lost it in the final seconds.”

Saturday’s game proved to be an even match-up from the start, which required Andover to come together as one unit in order to be successful.

Larson Tolo ’18 said, “In the first quarter, our team came out on fire. We capitalized on one of our earlier drives of the game, setting us ahead and boosting our confidence. With this confidence, we entered an absolute battle with Suffield, fighting hard to pull ahead. Suffield made a last-minute drive to close out the second quarter, putting them ahead to end the half.”

“At halftime, the team began to do something it hadn’t previously done: rally together. Instead of a coach’s motivational speech to propel us, we relied on each other and a common goal: to capture our first win of the season. Every single player focused in on their individual responsibilities and we came out in the second half ready to compete,” continued Tolo.

The third quarter was defined by multiple scores from both teams. Specifically for Andover, Post-Graduate (PG) Austin Myers ’17 caught a 43-yard pass after burning past his opposing cornerback for a touchdown.

Not only did Myers have a great game, but many other athletes also had strong showings.

Alex Apgar ’17 said, “[Will Sirmon, a PG,] led the running game with his 95-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, setting the tone for the rest of the game, and also delivered some timely passes on third down situations.”

Andover proved to be unwavering on its defensive end too – especially in its a third quarter touchdown scored by Brandon Barros ’17.

Will Nuga ’17 said, “[The] stand out play was Brandon Barros’s scoop and score. It was a big time rush by Kevin Milkowski and great instincts by Barros to recover the ball and evade defenders for a touchdown. The score gave the team a big momentum boost and really helped us stay in the game.”

Despite the team’s efforts throughout the game, Andover was not able to seal the victory and let its lead diminish in the last few minutes.

Michael Codrington ’18 said, “At the end of the game it was an emotional rollercoaster. With 3:31 left we had the ball and we had to piece together a long drive. Our team remained disciplined and focused on the drive the whole way down, climaxing in a touchdown by Turner Corbett. We were up one with 57 seconds left and we just watched hope slip away.”

The game culminated in the final few minutes of the fourth quarter, where Andover’s momentum slowly slid away.

“The kickoff killed us. They took it back pretty far and they just wanted it more than us. When the field goal went in everyone’s heart sunk, but that motivates us to come out on top against Deerfield,” added Codrington.

Despite the heartbreaking loss, Andover is looking forward to its next game during Family Weekend at home. The team is focused on improvement and on dominating against Deerfield, in hopes of its first win of the season.

Cummings said, “We need to continue to work on being consistent throughout the game and finishing the job. We are just focusing now on getting healthy and preparing for the end of the season push.”

Editor’s Note: Larson Tolo is an Associate Copy Editor for The Phillipian.