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Football Defeats Exeter for the 7th Consecutive Year in a 14-13 Thriller

Tight End Hunter Lane PG’20 scored both of Andover’s touchdowns.

Going for it on fourth and eight during Andover’s very first possession, quarterback Julio Dahl ’22 connected with tight end Hunter Lane PG’20 who hauled in a 16 yard touchdown in the midst of two defenders, bringing the team’s lead over Phillips Exeter Academy to 6-0. Lane eventually scored once more, leading Andover Football to a 14-13 victory on Andover/Exeter weekend last Saturday.

The first quarter score, along with the extra point from a field goal, was critical for Andover to gain confidence and establish control early in the game, according to Tommy Savino ’21.

“[It] was a really big turning point in the game, [because] it got us on the scoreboard early. Another big point for us was that extra point because [Co-Captain] Michael Thompson [’21] was struggling a little bit going into the game making extra points. [What] ended up actually winning us the game [were] his two extra points, so that was really good to see,” said Savino.

Despite not scoring again until the fourth quarter, Andover was able to maintain its lead and come out victorious following Exeter’s missed extra point that would have tied the game at 14. Trailing 14-7, Exeter scored with 16 seconds remaining to make it 14-13. Due to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, its extra point attempt was pushed back 15 more yards, leading to a botched kick that flew wide left.

According to Ben Carbeau ’21 and Danny Ferris ’22, the ending served as the culmination of a game the team will never forget.

“I’m just going to remember the ending. It was such a crazy finish to the game,” said Carbeau.

Ferris said, “It was something else. It was crazy [and] it was definitely something I will not forget. It was unbelievable. The crowd had so much adrenaline… it was unbelievable.”

Due to the intense atmosphere, it was challenging for players to stay focused during the game, which presented some difficulties, according to Ferris.

“Staying calm, fighting through the adrenaline… [and] keep[ing] your head on the field [and not getting] caught up trying to make a big play…was huge. [Not] doing your part could lead to the other team scoring. Knowing what your assignment was… That was a challenge to everybody,” said Ferris.

Heading into the game, Andover knew it would need to focus on dealing with the noise of the opposing crowd, according to Savino.

“We did an exercise on Thursday and Friday. We practiced in the stadium, we cranked up the speakers as loud as possible to emulate the crowd noise we were going to be facing.”

To help stay grounded during the game, Andover adopted a motto that had been made popular by the New England Patriots: “Do Your Job.”

Ferris said, “[Co-Captain Jake Jordan ’20] told us all before the game: ‘Just do your part. Play your game, don’t be worried about making a big play, just do your job, and know your assignment.’ Everybody took that in and it helped. We played our game.”

Carbeau also took the motto to heart. He said, “I think that it’s important to keep in mind that you just have to do your job. You don’t have to be more than the player you were, [you] just [have] to really keep your focus.”

The victory, which was the first Andover/Exeter win for new Head Coach Trey Brown ’12, concluded Andover Football’s season with a 3-5 record.