SHELTON — It’s easy as one-two-three.
Snap the football, place the football, kick the football.
Shelton’s Nick Andrade has found that while the numerical numbers coincide, there is more to placekicking.
“I have a checklist,” said Andrade, who began practice this week with Springfield College. “The first, and the most important, is mental. All kicks are the same, no matter the distance, the time on the clock, or the score. The second is doing drills. You go through the same process over-and-over again until it is muscle memory. The third is lifting, doing cardio workouts, staying strong.”
Andrade made 10 of 15 field goals, with a long of 40 yards, as coach Jeff Roy’s Gaels went 19-3 the past two seasons. The 5-8, 140-pounder converted 49–of–51 points after touchdown. He averaged 36.8 per punt and placed 31 of those boots inside opponent’s 20-yard line.
“Nick had a huge impact both placekicking and punting,” Roy said. “A very consistent kicker, he pinned opponents deep on kickoffs and punts. Nick always made the big kick when we needed it. We’ve won a lot of games with our special teams.”
Shelton went 10-1 a year ago and Andrade was at his best when the games were close.
Andrade kicked a 30-yard field goal to help the fifth-ranked Gaels beat fellow unbeaten Fairfield Prep, 10-7, in week three. With each offense bogged down by penalties, Andrade made the most of his six punts with Prep gaining no yards on the change of possession.
In week six, Shelton took on North Haven and won a 28-26 slugfest. Andrade placed three of his four punts inside North Haven’s 20. Two kickoffs carried into the end zone. The other three pinned the Indians back, with the coverage team limiting then to 12 yards per return. He made all four conversion kicks.
In the Class LL playoffs, Shelton lost to runner-up New Canaan. Two of Andrade’s six kickoffs resulted in touchbacks. One of his three punts was inside the Rams’ 20.
Springfield College came calling.
“Coach (Greg) Webster made contact,” Andrade said of speaking with the Pride’s offensive coordinator. “Then I went for a couple of visits. It is a perfect sized school and I liked the sense of community with the team. Academically, I’m looking to double major in physical education and computer science.”
Head coach Mike Cerasuolo will enter his fourth season after he guided Springfield to a New England Bowl title and produced a pair of D3football.com All-America honorees for just the second time in program history.
The Pride went 8-3 last fall, a year after they won the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) championship. In 2017, Cerasuolo guided Springfield to a 10-0 regular season record and its first trip to the NCAA Division III Championship since 2006. Named the 2017 NEWMAC Coach of the Year and the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston Division II/III New England Coach of the Year, Cerasuolo has led the Pride to six national rushing titles.
Running the football puts a premium on field position.
“We are excited to have Nick joining us,” Cerasuolo said. “We have been very fortunate to get him. He is extremely hard working and conscientious. We expect the same from him and Nick will have an opportunity to be an impact player on the field.”
Springfield utilized a pair of senior placekickers a year ago. Christian Humulock was 4-of-6 on field goals and 26 for 30 on PATs. Blake Heller made all seven conversion kicks and 2 of 3 field goals.
Andrade welcomes the chance to compete for the position.
“I followed some great kickers at Shelton (Ed Groth 2010-12 and Joe Zoppi 2013-16),” Andrade said. “Me and Zoppi always went at it. He was so good. We pushed each other to be better.”
Springfield will open its season with Western New England on Sept. 7 at 1 p.m.