Eric Giarnese ’21 said, “I think our weaknesses defensively were that we let too many big plays happen. In the first half, I think we were down [14-0]. We were playing a really good game. We forced them to punt a bunch of times. We were keeping them out of the endzone and we let up really, one big play.”
He continued, “In the second half, we let up a couple passing plays that were really huge. They came out of the gate a lot harder then we did and I think we just ran out of energy.”
The team went into the game aware it would face a tough opponent, but still kept a strong mindset, according to quarterback Julio Dahl ’22.
“We knew we were the underdogs, so we just wanted to upset them. We wanted to run the score up early to put them in the position of being behind because usually they’re up by 24 in the first quarter. We just wanted to turn the tables on them and come out scoring early,” said Dahl.
According to Danny Farris ’22, Andover played well at the start of the game. Andover amassed 87 rushing yards during the game and the team’s lone touchdown came late in the game when Farris powered his way into the endzone on a 1-yard run.
“We played a great first half. We were strong. We played together as a team, which was what we needed.” said Farris.
Suffield’s strong offense was able to wear down the Andover defense and consistently move down the field, according to Giarnese.
Giarnese said, “We knew they were going to pass the ball a lot, so [in] the week leading up in practice, we really drilled our secondary. Our cornerbacks and our safeties worked really hard on pass coverage, while our linebackers and our defensive line really worked on getting pressure on the [quarterback] to try to make him make errors because we knew he wasn’t going to make that many because he was really good, so we really tried to push the envelope on that.”
Consistency was the biggest factor in the outcome of the game, according to Dahl and Giarnese.
“They did exactly what we came into the game trying to do. They were consistent, they drove the football. They didn’t even go deep as much as we had predicted them to. We thought they were going to come out and just launch deep balls, but they had a really good drive to start off the first quarter and then they were able to just pass short, so we had to focus on defending the passing game,” said Dahl.
Giarnese added, “At the beginning we were starting to drive the ball. It was hard because they were a good team — they played really disciplined — so what we were lacking was consistency because we needed to keep completing the short passes. And, where they really beat us was when we didn’t complete that short pass and it was third down and long and we had to go deep, which was what they wanted us to do, so they just played disciplined and we made more mistakes than we needed to.”
According to Giarnese, the team seeks to improve its passing and blocking for the next game.
“I think [we played] a pretty good defense; we ran the ball pretty well. We kept them pretty off balance for what we were going to run. And, I think when we needed to, we did convert on some first downs. But we definitely needed to pass the ball better. We need to work on our wide receivers blocking, if we want to have a better run game for our upcoming game,” said Giarnese.
Andover will travel to Deerfield next Sunday.