Neshaminy High quarterback Brody McAndrew has special appreciation for his offensive linemen.
After all, he used to be one of them.
“I played tackle one year,” McAndrew said of the early days of his football career with the Penndel Wildcats youth organization. “It was pretty fun. It actually was a lot of fun.”
McAndrew moved to quarterback after one season in the trenches. He’s about to begin his third year as Neshaminy’s starter in Friday night’s opener at District 1 Class 6A rival North Penn.
But he still has a little lineman in his game.
“He’s a big, physical kid,” Neshaminy coach Steve Wilmot said of the 6-foot-1, 200-pound McAndrew. “Pound for pound, he’s one of the strongest kids on our team.”
Friday night’s opener has special significance for McAndrew. For one thing, it’s the start of his senior season.
“Last time playing for the Redskins,” McAndrew said. “I can’t believe how fast it went. I used to come to the games with my dad when I was little, thinking, ‘One day that will be me out there.’ ”
For another, it’s a third shot at North Penn in the last 364 days. Last season, North Penn beat Neshaminy twice in one-score games: 34-33 in double overtime in the opener and 13-6 in the District 1 Class 6A quarterfinals.
“Nights I’ve been kept awake because of those games,” McAndrew said.
McAndrew said he still is haunted by the end of last season’s opener, when North Penn stopped a Neshaminy two-point try at the end of the second overtime.
“I remember that play like it was yesterday,” McAndrew said. “Us getting stopped on the 1-yard line. It kept us up for nights.”
McAndrew became Neshaminy’s starter as a sophomore, taking over for the graduated Mason Jones, now a junior quarterback at the University of Delaware. McAndrew passed for 1,548 yards and 15 touchdowns that season.
"He only threw four interceptions. That’s the number about that year that I really remember,” Wilmot said of McAndrew’s sophomore season.
Last season, McAndrew passed for 1,486 yards and 16 touchdowns in leading the Redskins to the Suburban One National title. In a 35-7 victory over Pennsbury that clinched the division crown, McAndrew was 12-for-16 passing for 163 yards and three touchdowns.
“He’s like the All-American high school quarterback,” Wilmot said. “Great team leader. We tell our kids we’re looking for people to get it done on the football field but also in the classroom and in the hallways. Brody is the perfect role model for doing that.”
McAndrew committed to New Hampshire in June. He has a close friend in the football program in freshman linebacker Oleh Manzyk, a 2019 Neshaminy graduate.
“It felt perfect,” McAndrew said of his spring visit to the school in Durham, N.H. “Their coaches are just amazing. Their football program felt like here. It was like being home.”
With Neshaminy needing to replace most starters from a standout defense last season, McAndrew also is projected to see some action at safety.
That’s fitting for him. He takes pride in his physical style of play and ability to compete with the team’s big guys in the weight room.
He has personal bests of 460 pounds in the squat, 300 pounds in the bench press and 280 in the power clean — marks that hold up well in comparison to the work of the guys along both front lines.