INDEPENDENCE - Andover might have found itself in a closer game with Independence than it was used to in previous meetings.
The Trojans and Panthers were knotted at 14-14 heading to the fourth quarter. But Andover capped one scoring drive early in the quarter and added a touchdown late to seal a 28-14 road victory Friday night to stay unbeated at 4-0.
The Trojans were able to bookend their strong finish with a strong start. Miles Starks returned the game's opening kickoff 98 yards to pay dirt for an early 7-0 lead.
Independence responded with a touchdown drive of its own as Courtlan Hayes scored the first of his two rushing touchdowns to tie the game 7-7.
On the first play of the second quarter, Jake Dusenbury scored a rushing touchdown to reclaim a seven-point Andover lead. But again, Independence answered right back as Hayes capped a scoring drive with his second touchdown of the game.
After a scoreless third quarter, Andover took the lead for good when Coen Rasmussen found his way into the end zone for a rushing score and a 21-14 Trojan lead. With 2:30 to go in the game, Andover sealed the game with a rushing touchdown by Cole Van Epps.
Van Epps led the Trojans with 75 rushing yards on 16 carries. Rasmussen added 47 yards and Mike Lopez had 33 yards. Chris Jones had a game-high 91 yards, including his longest run of 28, for the Panthers. Hayes finished with 74.
Rasmussen had as many completions (2) as interceptions. But one of his passes went for 51 yards to Cooper Nichols. Andover's defense two takeaways to Independence's three.
Andover looks to stay undefeated with a big game against cross-town rival Andover Central, which lost to Maize South Friday night.