Head Coach: Cade Armstrong
2016 Record: 6-4
Highlights: Advanced to Class 5A Regional playoffs
Returning Starters Offense: WR Ben Smith (Sr)
Returning Starters Defense: SS Alex Jones (Jr), LB Casey Mayes (Sr), FS Kale Rishel (Sr)
Key Newcomers: QB Eli Fahnestock (Fr)
Outlook: A freshman quarterback and a first-year head coach, Andover’s rebuilding from under-center to sideline.
15-year old Eli Fahnestock is the chosen one after he edged junior Alex Jones for the starting quarterback job. Fahnestock cannot legally drive, but he will be expected to steer the Trojans’ offense in 2017.
“I think what stands out for him is his leadership already. He’s leading this team as a freshman,” Ben Smith, Andover senior wide receiver said. “He’s a faster learner, doing a real good job. All his throws are right on target, just like you want.”
Cade Armstrong takes over as the Trojans’ new head coach after Tony Crough left for an assistant’s job at Hutch Community College following the 2016 season. Armstrong is a branch off the Brandon Clark coaching tree at Derby and he’s no stranger to winning.
“For the last four years, we were in a lot of big games--three state championships,” Armstrong said of his time at Derby. “I think what it does, it just gets me used to that atmosphere. The large crowds. It keeps you calm. I’ll be prepared for big playoff games and situations.”
Playoff conquest is in the blueprint for the Armstrong administration and they’re credulous in the freshman quarterback. Fahnestock will be operating behind a neophyte collection of offensive lineman, anchored by senior Dick McGill. Despite the raw assembly in the trenches, there’s a sense of surety amongst the players.
“I think it’ll be a good season,” Casey Mayes, senior middle linebacker said. “We gotta have our seniors step up. We’ve gotta lead these guys.”
Armstrong is the third head coach in four years at Andover. In his inaugural season, there’s solace in simplicity.
“I wanted it to be an easy transition for the kids,” Armstrong said. “I didn’t want to change much, but we are spread, we are up-tempo and we’re going to run the ball with a running back and quarterback and go fast.