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St. James Academy tops Andover Central in 4A State Championship

Published: Nov. 27, 2021 at 8:52 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - St. James Academy won Saturday’s Class 4A state title 28-21 over Andover Central. The Thunder have won back-to-back state championships.

Andover Central quickly went up 14-0. Ashton Barkdull had two of his three rushing scores in the first half. The Jaguar defense forced two turnovers in that span (Mason White interception, Collin Sheeran forced fumble).

Down 14-0, St. James Academy fought back. Thunder quarterback Jackson House connected with Tiave Watts for a 51-yard touchdown, to cut the Jaguars lead to 14-7. Watts would add a rushing touchdown to tie the game at 14 just before half.

It was a tied game at the end of the third quarter. Andover Central and St. James Academy were tied at 21.

House would break the tie with the go-ahead rushing touchdown in the 4th quarter to give the Thunder a 28-21 lead. The Jaguar offense was held scoreless in the fourth quarter, leading to the Thunder’s victory and second consecutive state championship.

Andover Central senior running back Ashton Barkdull had 21 carries for 123 yards with three rushing touchdowns Saturday. Jaguars quarterback Kai Kunz was sensational with his legs, rushing for 79 yards on 11 carries.

St James Academy junior quarterback Jackson House threw for 255 yards with three total touchdowns.

Although the Jaguars fell short, Andover Central had a dominant season. Before today’s state championship game, the Jaguars averaged 35 points-per-game on offense and the defense allowed around 11 points-per-game.

Andover Central is losing a senior class with many key starters, but head coach Derek Tuttle likes the direction his program is heading in.

“The exciting thing is we got a lot of good kids coming up,” Tuttle said. “The best thing about what the seniors did is that they left a really nice legacy for the kids coming up.”

Andover Central finishes their 2021 campaign with an 11-2 record.

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