Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Sports

November 28, 2013

Linemen Sutliff, Hartford lead Andover into Thanksgiving Day battle

Linemen Sutliff, Hartford trot Andover into Thanksgiving Day battle

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“Hartford is a beast,” Tully said. “He is just an animal. He is out there making tackle after tackle. I have to block him a lot in practice and it is rough.”

A 6-foot-4, 240-pound monster, Hartford has been using his size to his advantage, wherever it came from.

“I have always been a big guy,” Hartford said. “But that confuses people because my dad is only about 5-foot-8, so people wonder where my height came from. I guess it’s my uncles.”

After playing offensive line mostly growing up and on the JV team as a freshman, Hartford broke into the varsity lineup during his sophomore year at both defensive and offensive line despite missing time with a concussion.

His breakout season came last year, when he made 42 tackle and was fourth on the team in sacks with 3.5.

Hartford has been even better this season. He leads the team with 4.5 sacks and added 68 tackles, often disrupting opposing attacks.

“He has progressed so much as a player over the years,” linebacker Will Eikenberry said. “Now he just dominates the field. He is big and his physicality is key, especially against teams like Central Catholic.”

Along with a bench press that sits at 315, Hartford is also a star in the classroom. Last year, he earned three A’s, two A-minuses, a B-plus and three B’s while taking a challenging workload. He scored a 28 on his ACT, the equivalent of a 1,260 on the two-tier SAT.

“Practice some nights starts at 5:30 p.m.,” Hartford, a defensive tackle, said. “I’ll get home at 8:30 or 9 p.m. and study two to three hours and go to bed at midnight or 1 a.m. You feel it most when you are starting your homework or just getting up. You’re tired and exhausted. Then you have to do it all over again.”

But the workload hasn’t overwhelmed the NESCAC recruit. A few of his biggest games include an 11-tackle day against North Andover and a 12-tackle outing against Chelmsford.

Now he hopes his career ends with a bang.

“This will be my last high school game, no doubt,” he said. “There is nothing after this, so we have to end in style. The turkey will taste a lot better with a Turkey Day title.”

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