NORTH ANDOVER — In the awe-struck eyes of 10-year-old Tom Stabile, North Andover football legend Andy Foote was nothing short of a superhero during his record-setting career.
“Andy was like Superman,” said Stabile of the two-time Eagle-Tribune Player of the Year (2005-06). “He was the greatest football player I have ever seen. I would be in the stands as a kid watching him run for five touchdowns every game. I would read about him in the paper and dream that some day I could be like him and play running back at North Andover High.”
It took until his final high school season to earn that opportunity, but starting today Stabile will finally have the chance to live out that dream.
The North Andover senior tri-captain won the running back job this preseason — the fifth different starting running back in five years for the team that has seen four straight 1,000-yard rushers — and hopes to start with a bang tonight when his Scarlet Knights host rival Andover High in their annual season-opening matchup at Walsh Stadium.
“It would mean the world to us to beat Andover,” said Stabile “We have come close the last couple of years but just have not been able to finish Andover off. Our main goal is to beat Andover. We have prepared for this all preseason. I have chills every day going to practice.”
The Andover game holds an even more special place in Stabile’s heart, since his father and uncles were all star football players at Andover, and he even began his playing career as a fourth grader in the Andover Junior Football League.
“They all like to joke with me that Andover is going to beat us,” said Stabile. “But they are rooting for me. I have a lot of family friends from Andover and played with some of the guys on the team when we were little. But I have always been a North Andover guy. I have always rooted for the Knights.”