Offensive Explosion, Last-Minute Touchdown Ends Football’s Five-Game Losing Streak

Co-Captin Joe Carrara ’24 escapes a defender.

With three interceptions in the second half, including one returned for a touchdown in the final twenty seconds, Andover Football edged out Deerfield 38-35 in the team’s highest scoring game in five years. The team now has a record of 2-5.

The team’s offense pressed Deerfield hard from the beginning of the game, which included a 60-yard jet sweep into the endzone by Co-Captain Joe Carrara ’24, according to Seb Valasek ’24. Valasek emphasized the team’s ability to convert high-pressure situations into dangerous scoring opportunities.

“I would say our game plan was very effective right from the beginning. Our first drive, although we didn’t convert it into a touchdown, we moved the ball all the way down the field. And so we stayed on schedule for the whole game on offense. We controlled the line of scrimmage. And when we had our backs against the wall for third-and-longs, fourth-and-longs, needing the touchdown, our playmakers, our quarterback, wide receivers, running backs, made plays happen,” said Valasek.

Henry Sheldon ’24 shared a similar sentiment to Valasek, emphasizing the persistence of Andover’s offense. Sheldon highlighted other contributors to the run-heavy game. 

“Javeon [Talbot ’23]’s scramble went on a roll and play where KJ [Edwards PG’23] ended up getting a 35-yard touchdown, which was a motivator to our offense. To show that even when our offense breaks down, we still know how to make plays because that’s part of the game. Logan [Cove ’24] did a great job as running back for the game at around 70-yards and including one touchdown,” said Sheldon.

Though an improvement from previous games, Co-Captain Aidan Porter ’23 still observed numerous mistakes the team made, giving up multiple long touchdowns to Deerfield. Just barely winning by three, the team hopes to overcome as many mental blocks as possible for its two remaining regular season games. 

Porter said, “I think the one thing we need to work on, we have been working on it but it can still get better by just eliminating the negative plays that we have. I think we had 21 bad plays against Brunswick that we found on film. That was significantly less against Deerfield but there still were a few. Whether it was silly penalties, missed assignments, bad balls thrown, balls that were thrown well that could have been caught. So we are getting there, but it is something that we can still be better on.”

Ending the previous season 1-7, the team has since noticed drastic improvements, specifically in the cohesion of its playmaking and blocking on offense, according to Valasek. However, the team is still eager for more. 

“[The win is] a relief for a few reasons. One knowing that we’ve tangibly improved since last year and that we can compete with some of the strong programs in our league like Deerfield. So in that sense, it’s a relief, but also we’re trying not to get too far ahead of ourselves because it is, after all, only a second win this season, so we’re not satisfied with the way the seasons have gone so far,” said Valasek.

Andover Football will face Suffield Academy away on Saturday.