Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


November 14, 2013

Big Blue perfection

Andover edges out rival Exeter to advance to championships

With bragging rights in the 135-year-old rivalry on the line, Ryder Stone and Andover’s Phillips Academy locked down one of the most thrilling finishes in the historic series with Phillips Exeter on Saturday.

The undefeated Big Blue (8-0) now advances to the New England Prep School A championship game this Saturday against the Brunswick School in the Jack Etter Bowl at Avon Old Farms in Connecticut.

The win against Exeter — Phillips Andover’s first victory over its rival since 2007 — didn’t come easy.

With 31 seconds left and Andover trailing by five, Stone took a handoff and burst in from 3 yards out to give the Big Blue the lead.

That capped off a 90-yard, seven-plus-minute drive, which proud alums will be talking about for decades to come.

Alec Tolentino picked off a pass in the waning seconds to give the Big Blue a 13-12 win and a perfect regular season.

“It was bedlam on the field after we won,” Andover coach Leon Modeste said. “I got crushed by the mass of people that charged the field to celebrate. It was a great win.”

Exeter, which was 6-1 coming into the game, held a 12-7 lead with approximately eight minutes left.

To make matters worse, the Big Red then pinned their rival at their own 10-yard line.

But Andover responded with a 90-yard drive that ate up 7:30.

Quarterback Ian Maag converted a pair of fourth-down plays, scrambling for one first down and connecting with Brandon Michel for another. That set up Stone for the game-winner.

“We just controlled them the rest of the way with that drive,” Modeste said. “That is how you complete a drive and win a game. Our guys stepped up.”

Another key play came in the first quarter.

After Exeter scored, Michel blocked the extra point, which proved to be the winning margin.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

    Courtesy photo Jenn Russell races upfield for the U.S. National women's lacrosse team. She hopes to be with the team for the next World Cup in 2017.

    Lacrosse star Russell leads defense for U.S. National team, sets sights on 2017 World Cup Posted 5 days ago 4 Photos

    FILE PHOTO Chris Kuchar will become the fourth Andover High hockey coach in 3 1/2 years.

    Andover High names new hockey coach Posted 5 days ago 1 Photo
  • 140711_ET_CRU_BASEBALL_2

    CARL RUSSO/Staff photo Andrew Kombourasn draws high-fives and head pats from his teammates after scoring Andover Americans' first run in the opening game of the District 14 12-year-old championship. series against North Andover last Friday night.

    Summer classic: Andover Americans, Nationals make run for Districts Posted 5 days ago 11 Photos
  • Calabro swinging hot bat, Legion keeps rolling Posted 5 days ago
  • at round photo

    Andover Legion's Scott Leslie slides safely into home plate in a win over North Andover. Leslie is a big reason why Post 8 has been on fire this summer.

    Gillette, Selima stay red hot for Legion team Posted 12 days ago 1 Photo
  • at little league photo

    MARY SCHWALM/Staff photo Alex Lane delivers a pitch for Andover National Little League during District 14 pool play. Both Andover National and Andover American scored huge wins last week.

    Prakash, McConnell use long ball to lead Andover American Posted 12 days ago 1 Photo

    COURTESY PHOTO Tyler Bird, who played his high school senior year at Kimball Union in New Hampshire, will likely play three or four years for Brown University in Rhode Island before making the leap to pro hockey.

    Bird lands the NHL draft Posted 12 days ago 2 Photos

    COURTESY PHOTO Lawrence Academy second baseman Brian Burns of Andover received Honorable Mention from the Independent School League this spring.

    Community Scoreboard Posted 12 days ago 1 Photo

    COURTESY PHOTO The Blue Jays pose with their coaches and team manager at the end of their undefeated season in the Andover Little League 9-year-old Division.

    Unbeaten Blue Jays win 9-year-old Division crown Posted 12 days ago 2 Photos

    COURTESY PHOTO The Andover Little League Majors Division champion Brewers team included, front row, from left, Jacob Pepi, Evan Giggey, Matthew Shea, Aidan Ritter and Quinn Curtin; second row, from left, Aneudy Moreno, Sean Sullivan, Ryan Grecco, Jason Denoncourt, Ben Weeden and Michael Leone; and third row, from left, coaches Larry Shea, Jesse Ritter and Patrick Grecco.

    Brewers battle to 2014 Majors championship Posted 12 days ago 2 Photos

Pictures of the Week