A big day for Big Red as E/A returns

Exeter and Andover square off after a two-year layoff, while boys and girls cross country return home with four Interschol crowns.

Brian Muldoon
November 13, 2021

The oldest rivals in high school sports proved that not even a global pandemic can dull the shine of Exeter/Andover.

Fall athletes from the two schools clashed Saturday for the first time in 736 days in the resumption of a competition that began in 1878, treating raucous student sections and proud alumni to a day worthy of the tradition.

Big Red took the spoils, ending a football drought in dominating fashion and sweeping to a quartet of New England cross-country team championships — fittingly on Andover's home course. Overall, Exeter took eight of 10 varsity meetings this fall from their age-old rival, including a sweep of two boys water polo matches.

Exeter girls volleyball kicked off Saturday with an exciting 3-1 victory inside Love Gym. Andover control early and took a 1-0 lead on a first-set victory before Peyton Hollis ’22, KG Buckham-White ’22, and Sofia Morais ‘23 carried Big Red to three straight set wins and the first victory of the day.

Big Red carried the momentum outside to Phelps Stadium as boys varsity soccer rolled to a 3-1 victory. Diego Buyu ’22 scored two goals, Atticus Ross ’23 scored once and Charlie Coughlin ’22 was rock solid in goal for Big Red. It was the seniors' first win in the feud after settling for draws in 2019 and 2018.

Andover evened matters with victories in girls varsity soccer and varsity field hockey. On the soccer pitch, Andover held a 1-0 lead before Esme Shields ’24 tucked a beautiful shot past the Andover keeper and into the side of the goal to level the score. The Blue nosed ahead with a goal with just nine minutes to go to earn a 2-1 win.

In field hockey, Andover jumped out to 1-0 lead just two minutes into the first quarter. Big Red punched right back with a goal of their own just one minute later when Eden Welch ’23 buried a shot from eight yards out. Welch would add another tally and Kate Nixon ’23 also scored, but it was not enough to stop the Blue from a 7-3 win.

The final game of the day tipped the final tally in Exeter’s favor as Big Red football trounced the Blue, 37-6 — Exeter's first in the series since 2012. The Big Red offense got going in the first quarter as Sean Greene ’23 found Caleb Phillips ’23 for a 35-yard touchdown pass. Greene put Big Red up two scores with a 10-yard run up the middle for a 16-0 edge at halftime. Big Red continued to build their lead in the third when Tyler Pezza ’22 broke a pair of tackles and took a screen pass 22 yards to the endzone before Greene connected with Ethan Aguilar ’22 for a 25-yard touchdown pass over the top of the Andover defense. Ca’lub Holloway ’22 capped the scoring for Exeter when he plunged into the end zone from three yards out to seal the romp. 

Cross country crowned

In addition to the rivalry matchups, the boys and girls cross country teams traveled to Andover for the Interschol Championships and returned home with some hardware. Boys varsity and JV and girls varsity and JV cross country swept all four Interschol races. This marks the third Big Red title in the past five seasons for both the boys and girls varsity, who entered as defending champs after each won in 2019. The boys JV program secured its fifth straight championship; the girls JV team earned its fourth in the last five years.

Byron Grevious ’24 was crowned New England champion with a first-place finish with a time of 15:27 to pace the Big Red boys varsity. Kamran Murray ’22 placed third overall and Bradley St. Laurent ’22 took fifth as Big Red dominated the competition. Exeter finished with 28 points — second-place Northfield Mount Hermon scored 84.

Kaitlyn Flowers ’22 (fifth place), Daria Ivanova ’24 (seventh), and Tenley Nelson ’24 (ninth) each finished in the top ten to power the girls varsity, as they topped second-place Loomis Chaffee by 16 points.

The boys JV cross country team finished one, two, three as Alex Kermath ‘22, Thomas Seidel ‘22, and Pearce Covert ’25 were the first three to cross the line. Exeter finished 10 points ahead of second-place Andover. It was more Big Red domination on the girls JV side as Exeter placed all seven scoring runners in the top 17, including Lassiter Foregger ’23, who earned a first-place finish with a time of 21:42.