Football Surmounts Kent in Final Minutes with 80-Yard Kickoff Return

Thomas O ’Brien PG ’23 is committed to play football at Harvard.

Davian McDonald ’25 and Co-Captain Aidan Porter ’23 celebrate during their game against Kent on Saturday.

KJ Edwards PG’23 makes a one-handed catch before scoring a touchdown.

In the final minutes of the game, Co-Captain Joe Carrera ’24 weaved through Kent players and into the open field for the game winning touchdown against Kent. With a final score of 25-19, the team’s record stands at 1-0.

Head Coach Trey Brown emphasized the togetherness he witnessed from the team this past weekend. Despite the constant back-and-forth of the game, the team managed to keep its composure. 

“What we did really well was thinking together as a team. I think it is super easy in a game where it’s up and down to get on each other, get on a teammate, and point out their flaws. But our guys stayed positive, stayed together, and believed in one another throughout the whole game. One of the values for our program is family and we stuck together as a family and I’m really proud of our guys for that,” said Brown. 

Co-Captain Aidan Porter ’23 praised the team’s ability to constantly overcome challenges throughout the game. Despite losing some composure when Javeon Talbot PG’23 suffered a dislocated elbow, the team found ways to recover. 

“Every time we seem to make a mistake or every time Kent seemed to punch us in the mouth, we found a way to bounce back. We had a number of setbacks. Javeon Talbot got injured early, we made a couple of mistakes defensively, [but] we always found a way to bounce back whether that was going on the field and scoring or a big play…. We just really found a way to bounce back,” said Porter. 

Starting quarterback Davian McDonald ’25 highlighted the resilience the offense showed despite two turnovers that could have weighed the team down.

“I’d say we did a good job controlling the game. It was our first game of the season and we made a lot of mistakes, but even when we made the mistakes we bounced back and we did a good job not coming down on ourselves. We had a fumble and an interception, but we kept our heads in the game and still came up with the win,” explained McDonald.

Porter described what the team can improve on after the performance. While tackling was a weakness throughout the game, he said that mental errors weighed down the team.

“Even though we did win, we are not satisfied by any means. We made a lot of mental mistakes in our games. We know that intangibles are there and everyone’s skill levels are where they need to be and now it’s just fixing the little things and fixing the mental mistakes going forward and being more of a cohesive unit,” said Porter.

McDonald also highlighted Carrera and praised the efforts of KJ Edwards ’23. Edwards had a one handed touchdown grab for the first score of the game, as well as an interception.

“[Joe] had the game-winning kick return, he played both sides of the ball, and he also had an interception and I think he did really good. I think KJ as well, he had a touchdown pass. He also had an interception and you know it’s his first game with Andover and I think he did really good with us,” said McDonald.

According to Brown, the goal for this season is to set the tone for future Andover football teams. Beyond winning games, Brown hopes to establish a productive and cohesive team environment. 

“Obviously we want to win games, that should be a goal for any team, but I think more importantly this team is really at the pivotal point of the program turning around. I think for myself, as a newer coach, I see this program being turned around by this group because of their commitment to one another, their commitment to the sport, to the game of football. And I think they can really set the standard of what’s expected for future players and [they’re] putting in a lot of work and a lot of effort,” said Brown 

Andover will play away at Loomis Chaffee on Saturday.