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Old Saybrook-Westbrook football senior co-captain Carl Anderson is giving his all on the gridiron by playing both fullback and middle linebacker for the Rams, who are 4-1 thus far this fall. (Photo courtesy of Carl Anderson )
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Carl Anderson never hesitates to put his heart and soul into anything and his role on the football field for the Rams is certainly living proof of that.
Carl, a senior at Old Saybrook, tried several other sports before being drawn to the gridiron. Following a winless campaign for Old Saybrook-Westbrook (OS-W) in 2014, Carl has helped lead the Rams to a 4-1 start this season by doubling as a fullback and middle linebacker. The co-captain collected 39 tackles (17 solo) and made two sacks in his first four games, while guiding OS-W to a trio of a nail-biting victories.
“I loved the whole respect aspect of football in how you need to respect your opponent. It also helps keeps me on line and do well in school. It helps you become a good individual on and off the field,” says Carl, who also throws the javelin and shot put for Old Saybrook track. “I played defensive line in the past, but once I got to high school, I was forced into the linebacker spot, yet I loved the position. The training and hard work I’ve done through the years has helped me out there and it’s satisfying.”
First-year Rams’ Head Coach Mike Marone praises Carl for his ability to take down opposing ball carriers and also appreciates how the captain displays leadership by keeping his motor running for the duration of a game.
“Carl Anderson is a real leader in the school and on the field. His presence in the middle as a mike linebacker allows our defense to do other things on the outside. He has the inside nailed down. He is a lock-down linebacker,” says Marone. “When Carl hits you, you know it. He is one player that crawls off the field when the game is over because he donates his body for our defensive team. He is also a hard-running fullback on offense. He never comes off the field. He is our 60-minute man.”
Playing both ends of the field helps Carl get into the heads of his adversaries when it’s time for him to step into their shoes. In terms of making that terrific take-down at the linebacker position, Carl likes to literally march to his own beat.
“Being a fullback, I learn how to read the offense and so I think of all the stuff I’d read if I were playing linebacker,” Carl says. “When I try to make the perfect tackle, I try to sing a song while I’m running, but I’m comfortable at the position and confident that I have to make the tackle or else they will get free and I’ll get hurt.”
Carl took his share of licks with the pigskin in the opening stages of his football career, However, those early experiences merely fueled Carl’s fire and developed his desire to fully dedicate himself to the sport he loves.
“Being able to be a hard hitter has come with a lot of practice. I grew up playing football against a lot of kids that were better than me, but it showed me what I had to do to get to where I am now,” says Carl. “You need to love the game and what you do. You have to have a high amount of focus to be out there and also study a lot out of the game. Our coaches put in a lot of work to give us opportunities and we have to take it.”
The 2015 campaign has ushered in a new day with a fresh attitude for OS-W football as the Rams have shaken aside their lengthy losing streak and are now on the winning side of things this season. Carl knows that with the team’s success comes high, but attainable expectations.
“We hadn’t felt winning in a long time and going 22 months without a win was awful. Yet after that first win, it didn’t hit me until I got home when I realized it was the best feeling in the world,” says Carl, who thanks his grandfather, Albert Anderson, plus all of his coaches. “We want to finish the year at 7-3 or better. Anything lower is unacceptable. We have a winner’s mentality with smart, focused kids.”
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