ANDOVER — Last season, it was the offensive plays that made Andover Central High School football team victorious over Andover High School. This season it’s quite the opposite.
It was the defense that shined and put away the Trojans with a 7-0 victory at home on Friday night. Central has beaten the Trojans for the third consecutive year.
Both defensives carried the load the whole game, but Central was able to punch in one touchdown late in the first quarter by Davin Simms. Since then, it was nothing but three and outs.
Central’s offense, despite only putting up seven points, had the upper hand because of how they manage the clock. As the time of possession became a factor for the Jags, missed opportunities, a fumble play, and six different penalties held them back and kept the Trojans in the game.
"We had some good plays and had some good drives. We were just not able to finish things, which is something we have to do better at, and I got to do better at down the stretch," Central’s Head Coach Derek Tuttle said after the game. "We’re still trying to eliminate turnovers and trying to cut back in our penalties as usual. It is all the little things that will get us the extra edge we’re going to need down the stretch."
As for Andover, Max Middleton was the only bright spot. The junior rushed for 110 yards in 29 carries just only have 23 yards in the first half. Middleton was able to get in a rhythm late in the fourth quarter to give the Trojans a chance, but the Jags stayed on top of him.
"With the exceptions of a few plays, we kept the gaps nice and tight, and he’s a hard runner and they got some good lineman, and they after you all night long," Tuttle said. "So, we were pretty excited that we were able to do that."
Outside of Middleton, the offense was nonexistent. Trojans only completed three passes. Andover’s quarterback Brady Strausz kept being swarmed and was not able to connect with any of his receivers. Tuttle was pleased with his defense’s preparation.
"I got to give credit to our coaches," Tuttle said. "Coach (Aaron) Frey did a great job with his calls and game planning. But I can’t say enough about our d coaches and how they got our kids ready to play. The bottom line is our kids came out and performed. I’m really happy about how we flew around and how we tackled and pursuit for the football. I was really pleased with that."
Some of the highlights include Jack Bell making a vicious hit on Andover’s Isaiah Maikori, where the ball popped in the air, and Simms recovered it.
However, while it was 4th and 1 at the Trojans’ four, Tuttle made a bold decision to go for the touchdown, instead of settling for the field goal to give the Jags a 10-0 lead. Central’s quarterback Chase White handed off to Ashton Barkdull but was stopped by Trojans’ Nicholas Parker. It was that one play, Tuttle wishes he had back.
"Yeah, we thought so. In hindsight, you know, maybe looking at kicking it as we got a good kicker in Chase White you know, it’s something where we thought we had the momentum in punching it in They made a good stop," Tuttle said. "I give a lot of credit to Andover. They have a really aggressive defense."
Andover had one more shot in tying the ballgame with a minute left. Strausz made a 40-yard pass to move the chains as the clock kept ticking. On 4th down, Strausz had one more shot to make a play to continue to drive but the pass was deflected, and the Jags escaped with the win.
The Jaguars will close out their regular season on the road as they take on Arkansas City next Friday at 7 p.m.
Andover 0;0;0;0 - 0
Andover Central 7;0;0;0 - 7
1Q (2:20) AC - Davin Simms 4-yard TD run (Chase White kick good).