Fall Sports Football Sports

Football Defeats Deerfield with Last-Second Touchdown

D.Zhu/The Phillipian

With 24.4 seconds remaining on the clock, Co-Captain Michael Thompson ’20 faked a pass and scrambled for a three-yard touchdown, lifting Andover’s score over Deerfield 21-17. Andover improved its record to 2-3 with the victory.

Earlier in the fourth quarter, Thompson ran the ball for a 30 yard scramble, which sparked Andover’s offense, according to Ben Carbeau ’21.

“It was a really hard-fought game, and the defense played really well. Everybody was contributing whether it was on kick-off or or it was Michael Thompson leading the team down the field at the end to score. It was a really great team effort,” said Carbeau. 

Heading into the game, the team was eager to procure its first home win, according to Co-Captain Will Litton ’19 and Carbeau.

Litton said, “Our mentality going into the game was that we needed to win at all costs, and give it the best we have.”

Carbeau added, “I think before the game we all knew that this was going to be a good test for us, but also a game that we could really win.”

Andover started quickly with a strong first trip down the field, according to Jon Krikorian ’21.

Krikorian said, “An outstanding play was on the first drive. A long pass from Michael Thompson to [ Jake Bedell PG ’19] set the tempo for the game and led to our early 7-0 lead.”

Despite firing on all cylinders out of the gate, Andover was met with equal intensity by Deerfield, resulting in a tight competition throughout the game, according to Matt Sapienza ’21.

“We came out strong on the first drive of the game and scored, [but] I knew we were going to have a tough game once [Deerfield] scored their first touchdown. It was really just going back and forth the whole game,” said Sapienza.

At the end of the first half, the score was tied. In an effort to galvanize the team, Andover’s older players delivered a pep talk to the rest of the team regarding the intensity of its play and the importance of winning the game, according to Carbeau, Krikorian, and Litton.

“At halftime we went back in the locker room and heard a lot from the older guys. They really just challenged us to step up to the task and give it all we have out there, and especially in the fourth quarter,” said Carbeau.

Krikorian said,  “The older leaders of the team opened our eyes and wanted us to give this game everything we had… We’ve had a couple rough games this season and we didn’t want to let one that was in our hands slip out from us.”

Litton said, “At the half it was less about the game plan and more about finding it within ourselves to come back and play a strong second half. We were talking about channeling our energy and trying to come out with the best outcome possible.”

The game saw a variety of outstanding plays both offensively and defensively, including particularly impressive performances from Magnus Voge PG ’19, Bedell, Sal Lupoli PG ’19, and Thompson, according to Carbeau and Litton.

“I think Magnus Voge played a really good game at linebacker. He was in the backfield constantly,” said Carbeau.

Carbeau continued, “I think Jake Bedell played really well at wide receiver. He had a lot of important catches especially late in the game.”

Litton said, “Jake Bedell and Sal Lupoli both had big plays at the right times, and so did Michael Thompson. [Thompson] ended up scoring the winning touchdown. He ran it in for a couple yards. Those were some of the big plays that changed the game.”

For next week, Carbeau and Litton said that each member of the team needs to focus on their individual assignment and channel the way they played against Deerfield for its final two games of the season.

“I think we really can continue to improve on understanding our assignments each play. I think what we showed in the fourth quarter [against Deerfield] was a lot of will and I think we need to do that in our last two games to be successful,” Carbeau said.

Litton said, “I think we need to work on each player focusing on their individual task every play  rather than being overwhelmed by what we’re trying to do, and if everyone does their job every single play, then it’s going to be hard to stop us.”

Andover will face Worcester Academy away next Saturday.