EXETER THWARTS ANDOVER, 21-13 PA’s Streak Ends Along With Playoff Hopes Five Turnovers Prove Too Costly in 128th Matchup

With a fourth straight championship game berth on the line, Andover couldn’t overcome five turnovers on offense, falling 21-13 to Exeter. With the heartbreaking loss, Andover finished its season at 6-2. Fans in blue and red packed Phelps Stadium for the 128th edition of the Andover-Exeter rivalry game. Andover came into the match-up with momentum, having won four straight after an early season loss to Choate. Both teams started the game sluggishly on offense, as the two teams punted back and forth for the entire first quarter. Andover’s offense finally found a rhythm on its first drive of the second quarter. Backed up on its own 20-yard line, the offense moved swiftly down the field. Quarterback Dan Hussey ’09 hit an open Luke Duprey ’10 for a 43-yard completion that brought Andover deep into Exeter territory. Exeter then forced a fourth down, but Sam Auffant ’09 brought down a six-yard Hussey pass on the right side for the game’s first touchdown. Kevin Paul ’10 added the extra point to put Andover up 7-0. Exeter came roaring back, however, with 14 unanswered points. The first of these scores came after Andover fumbled at its own 21-yardline. This set up a short field for the Exeter offense. Almost instantly, Exeter put points on the board with a 19-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at seven. The next time Exeter got the ball, they started at their own 22-yardline. A long drive with a mix of runs and passes brought the offense to Andover’s goal line, and Exeter scored on a 5-yard pass to go up 14-7 at the halftime break. The first time Andover had the ball in the 2nd half, the offense turned the ball over with another fumble in its own territory. Luckily, Asst. Captain Anthony Morlani ’09 intercepted his fourth pass in three weeks to thwart the threat. The Andover offense took advantage of the turnover as Auffant broke some tackles and beat the Exeter defense around the outside for a 15-yard touchdown. Andover went for the two-point conversion and missed, leaving the score at 14-13 in favor of Exeter. Andover looked to have the momentum in its favor, but each time the offense had the ball, a costly turnover prevented Andover from scoring. Exeter turned a fumble recovery into points to pad its lead to 21-13. On its final drive, Andover marched down the field with some tough running and conservative passes. The scoring threat was ended, however, when Exeter intercepted a pass in the end zone to seal the victory for the Big Red. The five turnovers proved to be costly in the loss. “You can’t turn the ball over five times and expect to win,” said Coach Leon Modeste. Interestingly, the last time Andover lost to Exeter, the offense had five turnovers as well. This loss brings an abrupt end to Andover’s football season. Reflecting upon the season, Coach Modeste took many positives away from 2008. He said, “We had a lot of team unity this year, and our fantastic captains brought the team together at the beginning of the season.” These captains did a great job this year, leading the team to a 6-2 record. Both Morlani and Captain Andrew Pohly ’09 are very appreciative of their time in Andover’s football program. “To know that I have been a part of the incredible tradition of Phillips Academy Football is remarkable and I am lucky to have been a part of this fraternity,” said Pohly. “I’ve had many memorable moments on and off the field that I will never forget, and I’d like to thank Coach Mo and the entire staff for giving me that opportunity,” said Morlani. Even with a very talented graduating class leaving, the Andover football program looks primed for another great year next season. The class of 2010 boasts players such as Bobby Vardaro ’10, Zach Boyd ’10, Luke Duprey ’10 and John McKenna ’10, so 2009 could be an equally successful season.