Football Dominates Exeter for Third Straight Year

In the 130th annual Andover-Exeter football game, Co-Captain Chad Hollis ’08 dashed for a 97-yard touchdown return on the opening kickoff, setting the pace for Andover in its impressive 24-14 victory over its arch rival. Phelps Stadium in Exeter was packed with thousands of loud and enthusiastic fans in blue and red as Andover came out onto the field in its biggest game of the year. But the Andover players didn’t let the pressure get to them, and Hollis silenced the home crowd within the first seconds of the game. The co-captain received the opening kickoff at Andover’s own three yard line and found a seam in the Exeter special teams around the 20. From there, Hollis used his pure speed to dash down the sideline, giving Andover the 6-0 lead. The Andover defense came out pumped up and flying across the field, and didn’t let down for the entire first half, forcing three huge turnovers. The first turnover came on Exeter’s opening possession on a fumble at midfield after a big hit by Ryan McCarthy ’08. The fumble gave Andover terrific field position to start its first offensive possession. After three scrambles by quarterback Bryan Farris ’08, Andover reached Exeter’s seven-yard line. On second down, tailback Dan Evans ’08 discovered a hole and powered his way through the line for the touchdown. Farris finished off the play with a two-point conversion pass, giving Andover a commanding 14-0 lead halfway through the first quarter. On the attempt, QB Farris fired a bullet between the Exeter secondary for the five-yard conversion to diving Co-Captain Mike Ciummei ’08. Andover’s potent offense struck yet again with just under two minutes left in the first quarter. After a long drive down the field, Farris drove a 32-yard field goal between the uprights to extend Andover’s lead to 17-0. For the rest of the half, Andover’s defense took control of the game. In the first drive of the second quarter, Exeter reached the Andover five-yard line due to a long run and defensive personal foul. However, on second and goal from just two yards out, Exeter quarterback Alex Smith was drilled and fumbled the ball in the endzone. Linebacker Zach Boyd ’10 jumped on the ball to recover Andover’s second turnover of the game. Boyd said, “On the goal line stand, we showed a lot of heart. It was all a blur, but I remember we drilled the Exeter quarterback and forced him to relinquish the ball. Then I jumped on it.” Later in the half, the Andover defense thwarted yet another Exeter attack. McCarthy came out of the secondary to make a terrific interception on the Andover 19-yard line, finishing off a tremendous first half on both sides of the ball. Andover entered the locker room with a solid 17-0 halftime lead. In the second half, Andover continued its dominance on both sides of the ball despite early troubles. After the opening whistle, Exeter scored right away on a short touchdown pass to cut the lead to 17-7. On the next drive, Andover responded with a lengthy pass to Ciummei, but Exeter forced a fumble later on next play to prevent a score. Andover settled down, however, and neither team scored again until halfway through the fourth quarter. With just under six minutes left in the game, Andover worked its way down the field after runs by Farris and a key first-down pass to Ciummei to the 10-yard line. Thane Sanford ’08 then dodged opposing defenders for the touchdown rush, putting the game out of reach for Exeter. The win to end Andover’s regular season brought Andover’s record to 7-1. The victory qualified Andover to play Trinity-Pawling next week in Eaton-Estey Bowl Game. After suffering tough losses in the 2005 and 2006 Championships, Andover will need a complete team effort to emerge victorious against an athletic Trinity-Pawling team.