PA Stomps New Hampton, Shines Under the Lights

Big Blue football played its first home game under the Saturday night lights, handily beating New Hampton 46-16 in front of a friendly crowd of fans at Phelps Stadium. Anthony Ambrosi ’07 ran for 224 yards and 4 touchdowns to lead Andover to its second victory of the season. Overall, the Blue piled up over 450 yards of total offense on the day, with fullback Luke DeLuca ’07 rushing for 101 yards and a touchdown. Co-Captain QB Will Sherrill ’07 ran a smooth game, slicing the secondary and going five for eight for 138 yards with two touchdowns on the night. On this great night for fall football, New Hampton brought a strong and physical game to the field, but found themselves in an early jam. After PA and NHS traded defensive stops, Andover broke out for a long drive downfield, culminating in an 11-yard Ambrosi rushing touchdown. “We were fortunate to jump on them early, [which] was unexpected,” Coach Modeste remarked. The Big Blue defense continued to completely stifle New Hampton, while the offense stung quickly for big plays. A 45 yard Ambrosi TD run, accompanied by a 30 yard TD reception by Mike Ciummei ’07 from scrambling Co-Captain Sherrill, brought the score to 18-0 PA in just the first quarter of play. With New Hampton in a rut, the visitors looked to the air attack to try to make up points fast, but this allowed the dangerous PA blitz to run wild. “We stepped up the pressure defensively with the blitzes, and mixed up the coverages,” said Coach Modeste. The defense stood up well as the starters allowed no points in the first three quarters, while Kevin Wood ’07 and Gigi Cadet ’07 led the way with 4 and 3 sacks respectively. Safety Chris Bramwell ’07 also picked off a pass in the endzone, and Co-Captain Peter Casey ’07 contributed 2 sacks while forcing and recovering a fumble. PA continued to rack up points, going into halftime with a 32-0 lead, and continued the barrage through the 3rd quarter, when the score stood at a hefty 46-0. Long breakout touchdown runs of 85 and 45 yards by Ambrosi and DeLuca respectively broke open the game, and a 15 yard catch-and-run touchdown reception by Austin Monahan ’07 fueled the Blue and its crowd even further. The strong ground game of DeLuca and Ambrosi averaged over 15 yards per carry on the night, with the help of active downfield blocking by the receivers and the job of guards Wood and Matt Gaske ’08 to pull out in front. Coach Modeste said, “Anthony’s just warming up.” When asked about Ambrosi’s similarities to last year’s all-league, record-breaking backs Charlie Houghton ’06 and Matt Fernandez ’06, Coach Modeste offered, “He’s got the power of Charlie, and also the evasiveness of Matt, but he’s his own back. He’s powerful and fast, he’s a great package.” The Big Blue offense fired on all cylinders, with Co-Captain Sherrill having a great night to supply the passing game. The accuracy was there, both in the pocket and on scrambles, and Sherrill effectively mixed long passes with quick outs to Monahan, averaging over 25 yards per completion. Special teams also pitched in, coming back strong and fired up after allowing a kickoff to be returned for a touchdown last week at Loomis. The vital group, held together by Bramwell, corners Chad Hollis ’08 and Joey Atiba ’09, Curtis Holden ’07, and Mike Tully ’07 in the middle, was active and hard-hitting in its home debut. Kicker Dave Mauskop ’07 settled into a groove with some long consistent kicks but also earned attention with 2 tackles of his own. “When you see your kicker out there sticking guys, decleating others, that’s some good stuff. We got a tough kicker,” remarked Coach Modeste with a smile. The focus of this week’s preparation is a 0-2 Choate and a long bus trip to Connecticut. The Wild Boars of Choate are coming off a big loss to Exeter this past week, but went 7-1 just last year and present themselves as a tough opponent when they are at home.