(Editor’s note: We asked the coaches of one of our area’s top rivalries — Andover vs. North Andover — to tell us what makes their team special heading into their classic matchup on Tuesday night at Fenway Park. Here coach E.J. Perry gives us five reasons the 2021 team has been a special one.)

Excitement

The Andover Football team is sometimes referred to as the Killer Bees. The whole team is exciting, but the excitement teammates and classmates Scotty Brown and Lincoln Beal have caused is remarkable. They are both two -way players. Scotty Brown has run, passed and tackled at an alarming rate. Every time he touches the ball the opposing team is frightened. If Lincoln Beal caps his junior year with 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards passing with over 100 tackles — he will have arguably the best season of an Andover player in history. He would also become the only player in MVC history to have 1000 yards rushing and 1000 passing.

Resilence

This team has had a plethora of injuries throughout the season, but it has been next man up. We have started 5 different offensive lines since the first game and they developed the motto, “Next Man Up”. At one point in the season we have had 5 sophomores starting in the offensive line and they have all done a credible job. The former legendary Billerica Coach used to say for as many sophomores that you have starting in football, you will garner a loss for each one.” We have debunked his theory as at times we have had as many as 12 sophomores starting. Great job by all the players.

Intelligence

I could not have been more proud of my 7 captains at the 8th grade banquet the other night. It is a tradition that captains recap their football careers in front of the 8th graders. Each captain spoke eloquently and Tyler Acheson had prepared a 2 page speech. Overall this team gets their school work done, is respectful to the teachers and have been community leaders. Most of the players maintain high gpa’s and have lofty goals. As a coach when you can take something off your plate, “Like worrying about grades.” You are able to rest much easier at night.

Battle Tested

Andover will put their schedule up against anybody in the state. We started with Naples, Florida, then had to play No. 2 ranked Central Catholic and Lowell through the Merrimack Valley Large School Division. Only to have our crossover be 6-1 Tewksbury at the time. Our playoff game was against 8-2 Wachusett and our consolation game was against 9-1 Everett (who had beaten Xavarian). I tell my team that we will play anyone, anytime and anywhere. This team has taken that to heart and are prepared for Fenway, but also the future.

Finally Family Fun

I tell the players that the best two hours of everyday will be football. This year, it has been the best two hours of my day. The seniors cultivated a great culture, where the players come to practice to work hard and get better. The JV team has gotten significantly better, which is great, but you can also hear them chanting and laughing during the drills. The freshman team will once again give me five players that will play right away as sophomores. The seniors and varsity players work hard, but love doing community service projects, going to each other’s houses and enjoy smiling everyday on the field. They have been a blast to coach.

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