ANDOVER — The Andover Trojans know what’s at stake as they get set for face Maize South. For this group of seniors, making it to state is one more step in the greater goal they have all set their sights on.
Maize South and Andover Central have already played once, a 2-1 win by Central a little under two weeks ago. Andover Central took back some of the pain they felt when they lost to Maize South last year.
Last season Central came in with the No. 1 seed in the 5A west but were stunned by the ninth seed Kapaun Mt. Carmel. Kapaun would lose to Carroll in the quarterfinals.
There’s unfinished business and it hasn’t been easy for the Jaguars. They’ve had to claw and fight here in the playoffs. A 5-1 win that didn’t appear to be as big as the score indicated.
Then, Andover Central needed double OT to knock off the always feisty Bishop Carroll 3-2, giving the Jags their third regional title in four seasons Leyton Harper had two goals and an assist in the victory. Blake Robison, the three-sport star, had a penalty save.
This brings us to the Maize South and a shot at the Class 5A state tournament later this week in Spring Hill. The talent is there. The club knows it and the school knows it. They regularly have a large student section for every home soccer match.
Over the last two seasons, including this season, all three losses Andover Central has suffered have been at home, one was to Maize South last season, a 3-2 overtime loss.
Andover Central gets a chance to get to state for the first time since 2017 and the first time since moving up to Class 5A. The Jaguars had back-to-back state appearances in 2016 and 2017.
They were close in 2017 but fell short to St. Thomas Aquinas in the Championship match.
Maize South is the reigning Class 5A runner-up, falling to Blue Valley Southwest in the Championship match 5-0.
The Mavericks are led by Landon Eskridge, Raul Gerhardus, and Cooper Joseph and are the three seed in the West bracket.
Who: Maize South (15-2-1).
Where: Andover District Stadium
When: Tuesday, Nov. 5, 6:00 p.m.