A pair of 6-1 teams met at Emporia State University’s Welch Stadium to determine who would be in the driver’s seat in 5A district No. 5. Emporia was coming off a 48-27 win on the road against Newton, while Andover came off a 21-8 win over Valley Center last week.
Andover struck first scoring all their points in the first quarter, but Emporia scored 27 unanswered points to win the game 27-10 at home.
Andover went up 3-0 after being forced to kick a 22-yard field goal by Toshi Hayashi to put the Trojans up early against the No.3 ranked Spartans. The Spartans turned the ball over on their first play from scrimmage as Braxton Marstall fumbled the ball with the Trojans recovering. Andover fumbled at the Spartan one-yard line, giving the Spartans back the ball.
Emporia drove down the field as Marstall completed a 49-yard pass to J.L. Savage, but Savage had fumbled in the endzone, giving the Trojans the ball back at their own 20-yard line. Trojan quarterback Cole Gumeringer drove his team down field as he connected to Dallas Bruner for a 48-yard connection, putting the Trojans up 10-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The Spartans scored with 9:13 left in the first half as Cody Swanson scored from one yard out making it 10-6.
Emporia scored 14 straight in the third quarter, the first came on a reverse from Marstall to Jerel Morrow, with Morrow scoring from eight yards out, giving Emporia a 13-10 lead with 7:28 left in the third. The second score came from a Logan Highley 27 yard run making it 20-10 Emporia.
Andover tried a 26-yard field goal, but Morrow blocked it, giving Andover no chance to come back into the game.
Emporia’s final score of the game came as Marstall ran 14 yards for the score with 3:30 left.
Coach Dustin Delaney said Andover was a tough team to play.
“Coach Lee prepared his team, but our kids struggled in the first half, but came out playing in the second half,” Delaney said.
Marstall said it was an up-and-down game.
“First half, we didn’t play good, second half we came out playing,” Marstall said.
Individually for Emporia, Marstall was seven of 11 for 143 yards in the game along with nine carries for 37 yards and a touchdown. Leading rusher was Dylan Jackson with 32 carries for 161 yards. Savage was the leading receiver for the Spartans with five catches for 105 yards. For Andover, leading rusher was Mason Biberstein with 17 carries for 87 yards. Gumeringer was six of 14 for 105 yards and an interception, leading receiver was Dallas Bruner with three catches for 79 yards and a touchdown.Emporia (7-1, 2-0) will host Valley Center next Friday, while Andover (6-2, 1-1) will host Newton. Newton defeated Valley Center 23-12. With a win next week against Valley Center, Emporia can clinch the District 5 Championship and have a first-round game at home. With Newton and Andover, the winner of next week’s game at Andover, will be the district runner-up.