Exeter Rush Overwhelms Andover Defense; Lippe ’11 Shines with 328 Yards and 5 TDs

Max Lippe ’11 carried the Andover offense on Saturday against Exeter, throwing for 328 yards and five touchdowns. Lippe threw two touchdowns to Brendan Rankowitz ’11, two to Tom Szymanski ’11, and one to Jason Buco ’11. Andover’s defense couldn’t stop Exeter’s powerful running game, however, and Exeter emerged victorious with a score of 56-33. “I was helped out by my receivers,” said Lippe. “They all made great plays, ran great routes, and stayed with the play when I scrambled.” “Max has a really powerful arm,” said coach Leon Modeste. “He gets the ball to his receivers in a hurry, and he made great decisions on Saturday.” Andover received the opening kickoff, and Buco returned it for a huge gain past midfield which was called back after an illegal block penalty. After unsuccessful drives by both teams, Exeter drew first blood with a 14-yard touchdown run to the left side of the field seven minutes into the first quarter. Exeter then scored another touchdown on a counter in the beginning of the second quarter. Eric Meller ’12 provided a much needed spark for Andover when he snatched an Exeter pass from the air and ran it back for great yardage midway through the second quarter. Meller had a huge game at linebacker, making 12 tackles and assisting on 3. “We had practiced that specific play all week, so I was ready to make the pick,” Meller said. “I knew the interception was a big deal, but it was not until half-time until I realized how much it had sparked the team.” After a great run by TJ Hickey ’11 down to the 7-yard line, Lippe threw his first touchdown pass to Szymanski on a screen pass around the cornerback. Andover caught the Exeter receiving team off guard on the ensuing kickoff with a spectacular onside kick by Liam Murphy ’11 which was caught right out of the air by Lippe. Pumped up by the huge momentum shifter, Andover’s offense marched down the field and Lippe hurled another touchdown pass to Rankowitz on a 22-yard skinny post route with three minutes remaining in the half. An Exeter player returned Andover’s kickoff for a touchdown on the next play, but Andover would not let this stop it. Szymanski caught yet another Lippe pass on a 14-yard streak route with only 38 seconds left on the clock, and Lippe scored the two-point conversion on a keeper to tie the game up 21-21 at halftime. Exeter quickly shifted the momentum back in their favor, opening up the second half with three unanswered touchdowns, all on running plays. “Exeter did exactly what we thought they were going to do,” said Modeste. “By the second half, we were physically unable to stop them. We just weren’t big enough.” Andover eventually responded with a 35-yard pass to Rankowitz to make the score 42-27, but Exeter was quick to respond with two more rushing touchdowns. “The main reason that Exeter had so much success running the ball was because it was so hard for the linebackers to read each play,” said John O’Brien ’12. “Although it seemed like they were running the same play over and over again, they were actually running four or five different off-tackle plays and each was slightly different than the last.” Mike Wopinski ’13 added, “It was tough to keep up with all the variations.” Even with the game pretty much sealed, Andover’s offense refused to give up. Lippe threw another beautiful pass to Buco on the following drive, who wrestled an Exeter defender to the ground before coming out with the ball in the end zone. Despite Andover’s losing record in the 2010 season and its second half meltdown against Exeter, Andover did an admirable job offensively and put up a great fight against a very tough opponent to end the season.