Andover Central advances to state title game

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Andover Central defeated the McPherson Bullpups on their own field 7 to 0 in a tight defensive battle.

The Andover Central Jaguars pose for a picture with the Class 4A Sub-State Championship trophy after the game. The Andover Central Jaguars defeated the McPherson Bullpups by a score of 7 to 0 to win the Class 4A Sub-State Championship at McPherson Stadium in McPherson, Kansas on November 22, 2019. (Photo: Joey Bahr, www.joeybahr.com)

Both teams entered the contest looking for their first trip to the state title game in school history. McPherson lost the four previous Sub-State games they played in. Andover Central came up short in 2015 to Bishop Miege.

The two teams also entered the game with dominant defenses. McPherson only allowed 92 total points over 11 games. At the same time, Andover Central gave up 192.

When the whistle sounded to start the game, both teams forced a three and out of the other.

With about four minutes remaining in the first quarter, Andover Central was the first team to cross the mid-field line.

The first score of the night came from a defensive player. Only a few plays into the second quarter, McPherson had to punt on fourth down. Aiden Hoover lined up on about the 24-yard line to punt the ball away.

He mishandled the hike and started to scramble. The ball came loose and Andover Central's Kyren Parrott scooped up the ball. He ran it in to score a touchdown. After the PAT, the Jaguars led 7 to 0.

Under 1:30 left in the half, Andover Central quarterback Shomari Parnell threw a pass that McPherson's Jakob Feil intercepted on the 36-yard line.

The interception gave the Bullpups new hope in tying the score.

They would make it to the Andover Central 11-yard line. On a third and ten, Kaleb Hoppes scrambled and then threw the ball into the endzone. Central's Kaden Wilson caught the ball. There was a short conference with the officials to make sure the call was right.

They signaled for a touchback, Jaguar ball.

Andover Central took the 7 to 0 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The third quarter and much of the fourth quarter continued the back and forth drives and punts of much of the game. Both quarterbacks had a hard time getting catches from their receivers.

With 3:57 left on the game clock, McPherson took the ball back. They advanced from their 24-yard line all the way down to the Andover Central three yard line.

An illegal formation foul backed them up to the seven yard line. Kaleb Hoppes took two shots at the end zone only to have both fall incomplete.

They turned the ball over on downs and Andover Central knelt three times to seal the victory.

"It was a huge effort by a our Defense tonight," said Andover Central Head Coach Derek Tuttle. "We had some outstanding kids make great play all night long. The number of balls we knocked down and number of pressures we put on the quarterback were phenomal."

The first year coach will take his team to the school's first state title game.

McPherson ends the season with a 11 and 1 record. For the fifth time in school history, they fall short in the Sub-State Game.

Andover Central will travel to the Hummer Sports Complex in Topeka on November 30th. They will face a 10 and 2 Bishop Miege who are looking for their sixth state championship in a row.