ANDOVER – In its 33-0 victory last week over Winfield, Arkansas City amassed 340 yards of total offense.
But Andover slammed the door on the Bulldogs using a stingy defense Friday night in a 21-0 victory – Coach Ken Dusenbury’s first with the Trojans (1-1).
Ark City netted just 2 rushing yards for the game, including minus-24 in the second half.
Dusenbury praised the defense’s play.
"Coach (Dustin) Murray (defensive coordinator) does a great job with those guys," he said. "They just fly around, and they’re strong and physical.
"I was really proud of our defense. They’ve been playing good defense around her for quite awhile."
Sophomore quarterback Gabe Welch, who torched Winfield for 222 passing yards last week, completed eight of 19 first-half passes for 157 yards, but he could only complete one of five in the second half – for minus-1 yards. He also threw interceptions in both halves, with senior Isaiah Maikori hauling in both.
He was also harassed by a swarming Andover pass rush led by junior linebacker Chandler Goodnight, who recorded multiple sacks.
"He’s a special player," Dusenbury said of Goodnight. "He times his blitzes, he’s got a knack for it and he’s strong. He’s just got a lot of football IQ and he adds toughness to that."
"Our defense, we’re extremely well-coached," Goodnight said afterward. "We’ve been playing together for a long time, I think we’ve got 8-9 returners from last year. We just really like to come together; we’re really great friends with each other.
"That’s just my group of guys; I just love every single one of them."
Goodnight said that the defense was aware of what quarterback Welch could do.
"We knew he had a really good arm," Goodnight said. "We knew that he had some weapons on the outside; we just knew that we had to do our thing up front. Overall, just a great game for our defense."
And then, the Trojans offense – which lost starting quarterback Brady Strausz to injury in a season-opening loss at Maize – regained some life in the second half. Junior Max Middleton rushed 14 times for 124 yards after halftime, including a 21-yard scamper and a 37-yard TD run that capped the Trojans’ scoring. He finished with 190 yards on 30 carries.
An example of Ark City’s offensive frustration can be summed up in its game-opening drive. Welch, facing a third and 10 at his 19, ran the ball out to the 45, but a jarring hit popped the ball into the air and right into Maikori’s arms. From there, Andover ran seven straight running plays, capped by Middleton’s 1-yard run with 8:21 left in the first quarter. He also had a 17-yard gain on the drive.
Any time Ark City tried to benefit from a sustained drive in the first half – created largely on Welch’s passing – Andover’s defense stiffened. The Bulldogs turned the ball over on downs three times in addition to the airborne interception, as well as a blocked punt and a 26-yard missed field goal that hit the left upright and bounded away just before halftime. That would prove to be Ark City’s best scoring chance of the night.
In the second half, the Bulldogs just couldn’t sustain a drive, including another blocked punt and Maikori’s second interception.
Andover gained some breathing room in the third quarter, starting at its 40 and going 60 yards in nine plays, with senior Ashton Ngo pounding his way for the final 5 yards with 2:02 left in the period.
Another short field led to the Trojans’ final touchdown, starting at the 45 and staving off a false-start penalty to score in just five plays on Middleton’s 37-yard run with 4:59 left in the game.
By then, Ark City’s fate was pretty well sealed.
Middleton said he enjoys playing for Dusenbury.
"He’s the best thing that ever happened to us," Middleton said.
Andover 21, Arkansas City 0
Arkansas City 0;0;0;0 – 0
Andover 7;0;7;7 – 21
And – Middleton 1 run (Worpel kick)
And – Ngo 5 run (Worpel kick)
And – Middleton 37 run (Worpel kick)
RUSHING – Ark City: Welch 10-6, Bucher 1-0, Lathers 3-0, Clark 1-(-4). Andover: Middleton 22-152, Ngo 12-60, Schobourgh 4-18, Robinson 7-(-10).
PASSING – Ark City: Welch 8-24-2-157. Andover: Robinson 4-11-3-62.
RECEIVING – Ark City: O’Toole 2-91, Clark 4-45, Barnes 1-12, Lathers 1-9. Andover: Richardson 4-62.