Sept. 1, 2010
Most eyes at a football game are fixated on the running back strolling into the end zone downfield, or on the wide receiver after the quarterback delivers a long-distance strike.
No one in the stands notices much of Boston Stiversonm, who is among the behemoths in the trenches. But his work at left tackle is crucial in providing time for his teammates to make the plays.
“The offensive line is half the team out there pretty much,” Stiverson says. “If one person messes up, then the play is not going to go anywhere. The o-line has to start the play off and make their blocks. We kind of dictate how the play is going to end up.”
That’s why Stiverson might be Andover Central’s key piece this upcoming fall. The 6’4”, 294-pound lineman will anchor what coach Tom Audley thinks is a potent offensive line.
“That’s where we’ll build our offense around,” Audley says. “If you could pick a place to have experience, that’s where you would have it.” Joining Stiverson on the line will be returning starters Joe Washington, Corey Sharon, Cullen Nauck and Jens Danielson.
. Being a senior, Stiverson says stepping into the assumed leadership role hasn’t been difficult. “I don’t think it’s pressure,” Stiverson says. “I just need to do my job and do what helps the team the best. I don’t need to do it all; I just need to do my job.”
Much of that will be to protect returning quarterback Landon Huslig, a 1,000-yard passer last season, and lead the way for a two-headed attack from the backfield in junior Alex Bontz (5-9, 150) and senior Benton Beverly (6-0, 170).
“This is an 11-man game,” Audley says. “One good player is nice, but it’s your whole group. (Stiverson’s) a big part of that, though. He’s going to get ran behind a lot.”
Central seeks to end a three-game losing streak to crosstown rival Andover and rebound from a 4-6 record. The last time Audley had a losing record as coach in the Andover district was his first season at Andover High in 1997, though Central still has made the playoffs every season of its existence (2002-2009).
To return to the standard of excellence set by Audley, Central has to “become a team,” according to Stiverson. Unity was lacking last year, so this year’s senior class is set on correcting the problem.
“It’s hard waking up at 6 a.m. every day, but if you want to be a state-caliber team you gotta to do it,” Stiverson says.