VALLEY CENTER, KANSAS – Under a full moon Friday night Valley Center and the Hornets edged out the Jaguars, 14-12.
Valley Center had knocked off the previously unbeaten Jaguars, dropping them to 3-1.
"Give credit to valley center," Andover Central head coach Derek Tuttle said. "They were ready to play. We knew it was going to be a physical ball game. They did not disappoint on that end."
In a first quarter drive that began inauspiciously for the Hornets, senior running back Dom Phillips rushed for 14 yards, converting a huge 4th-and-1, making it to the Andover 2-yard line. Phillips went on to score the touchdown, giving Valley Center the 7-0 lead with 7:54 remaining in the first quarter.
In a drive that started at the Andover 19-yard line Jaguars’ senior Jacob Rees led Andover Central down field for a touchdown with 4:31 remaining in the first quarter. The touchdown was Rees’ fourth on the season. However, the point after attempt was blocked by Valley Center.
It would loom large later in the game.
After a muffed Valley Center punt just after the opening of the second quarter, Andover Central began a drive at midfield. Chase white found Jacob Rees on the pass, followed by a rush by Rees that got the Jaguars into the red zone.
Despite the good field position, the Jaguars were left empty as White missed a 25-yard field goal that would have put the Jaguars ahead in the second quarter.
"We had some mistakes tonight," Tuttle said. "There were some penalties that put us in bad situations we have to get better on."
Ashton Barkdull had two big time runs as the Jaguars drove down the field, converting a fourth down and ending with a White touchdown pass to Davin Simms for the 20-yard score with 45 seconds remaining in the half.
A bad hold on the point after attempt, led to another missed opportunity for the Jaguars, as they took a 12-7 lead into halftime.
"You have to have an edge," Tuttle said. "We didn’t quite play with the edge tonight."
After beginning the drive with the ball on their own 1-yard line, Andover only was forced to punt and Valley Center was given excellent field position at the Andover Central 27-yard line.
Valley Center quarterback went to work, finding Gabe Phillips for a 14-yard completion to start the drive. Then, he finished it off by finding Phillips once again for the 4-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the fourth quarter. Valley Center took the 14-12 lead with 11:55 remaining in the game.The Jaguars forced Valley center to give the ball back with 1:54, giving Andover Central one final opportunity. However, Andover Central could not convert and in four plays, turned it over downs when White was sacked 38 seconds remaining, ending the comeback chance.
"Our preparation could have been better in all phases of the game," Tuttle said. "I have to do a better job of getting guys ready."
Andover Central will try to regroup as they host Salina Central on Friday, Oct. 9. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
"We tell our kids every week is going to be a tough week," Tuttle said. "We play in a tough league. Now, we have to go get ready for Salina Central."