Coming off a big win over the Loomis Chaffee Pelicans, the Andover Football team lost to Hotchkiss this past Saturday in a heated battle on Hotchkiss turf. Andover opened the game with a strong defensive statement, forcing Hotchkiss to punt on their first possession. After a short pass and a quarterback sneak, Nick Stamas ’04 handed the ball off to Co-captain Connor Hoesley ’04 who ran the ball five yards for the touchdown. Hobie Boeschenstein ’04 split the uprights on the extra point to put PA in the lead 7-0. Hotchkiss, relying on their veteran running game, quickly countered. Their future Division One halfback pounded through the Andover defense, rumbling for forty-five yards to score. Lady Luck was on PA’s side, at least in the beginning of the game, and the Hotchkiss placekicker botched the PAT. Andover maintained a slim 7-6 lead. At the tail end of the first quarter, the Big Blue continued their offensive showoff on their second possession of the day. After driving down the field, Stamas gave the ball to Evan Platt ’06, who powered it in for the second PA touchdown. Boeschenstein finished with another successful extra point, putting the Big Blue up 14-6 going into the second quarter. Late in the second quarter, Hotchkiss got their second TD on a twenty-five yard pass to the back right of the end zone. On PA’s next possession, the game took a turn for the worse. Platt received a bad snap from David Giller ’06 on fourth and seventeen, causing him to fumble the ball. Hotchkiss recovered the fumble and ran it in for a touchdown and the 18-14 lead. Despite Giller’s difficulty, Coach Mo was sure of the talent in his developing player. “We have a very young, very good snapper,” he said, “but he is young. Every time you start a sophomore you’re gonna hiccup.” After a scoreless third quarter with a mere 4:25 left in the game, Loomis’s running back ran the ball twenty-five yards for his second touchdown, which gave Loomis a 25-14 lead. With things looking bleak for the Andover team, post graduate Bryce Loidolt ’04 raised spirits with an enormous reception that put the Big Blue well within striking distance of the end zone. Unfortunately, Stamas threw a pick in the end zone and Hotchkiss regained possession. Knowing the severity of the situation, Andover’s defensive line did a superb job of putting pressure on the Hotchkiss quarterback, and a few plays later Hotchkiss fumbled the ball, and Andover’s own Paul Tassinari ’04 recovered. With only 2:06 left to play in the game, the Big Blue was in possession once again within passing distance of the end zone. This time around, Stamas didn’t miss, and fired a perfect thirty-yard bomb to Loidolt in the end zone. The pass and Boeschenstein’s kick (his third on the day) put the Big Blue within four. Now with the pressure on the defense once more, the linemen stripped the ball from the Loomis quarterback, with Bobby Spang ’05 covering the ball. The Big Blue gained possession at the forty-seven yard line with a minute left to play. On the first play of the drive, with the clock running out and victory within sight, Stamas threw his second interception of the game and Hotchkiss walked away with the win. Players saw the loss as something to learn from. Sherrill said, “It was a tough loss to a good team. I think we can rebound, however, and come back tough against Choate” Coach Mo later said: “[Hotchkiss is] a really good football team, and they killed us last year. This year it was pretty clear that we narrowed down the gap–just not quite enough. It was a hard-fought game right up until the very end.” Spang, looking ahead to the Blue’s next game, a contest with heated rival Choate, said, “Choate will be a challenge for us, more so even than Hotchkiss. If we are able to stop the run on defense we should do alright.” Coach Modeste described Choate as being very “big and physical, with a bunch of big strong runners.” The key to beating Choate, for the Blue, will be to use their quick strike capability and beat them with their speed.
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