Andover Trojans' defense dominates Wichita Heights to improve to 4-1

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette

Sometimes you have one circled and it means a little extra despite what they tell you leading up to the week. 

Andover had this one circled against Wichita Heights all week and it showed as they pummeled the Falcons, 49-7 to avenge their loss in last year's Class 5A first round game.

"Yeah, I'll say this one meant a little extra to us," senior running back Max Middleton said. 

Andover was without a handful of starters in their 28-22 loss to Wichita Heights last year due to COVID-19. So, this one feels a little sweeter. 

It was the Andover defense who locked down John Randle, the superstar running back of Heights. He only had 89 yards of offense and was often seen in a sea of blue jerseys.

"We did a good job of not letting him get to the outside," Jordan Hartman said. "It was my job when they ran that option to make sure they didn't get outside or cut up on us."

Hartman, only a junior, had to step in for Chandler Goodnight who was lost for an injury and was the lynchpin to a suffocating defense that forced Heights into tough situation after tough situation. 

"He looks like a saxophone player or something, you know, , you couldn't pick him out," Andover Head Coach Ken Dusenbury said. "He is a football player at heart and he loves the game. He has a knack for flying to the ball and he really stepped in and did a great job for us tonight."

In all, Heights had only 204 yards of total offense. They had come in as the second best offense in Class 5A, but the Trojans flew to the ball and fed off the crowd. It was an electric evening for Andover. 

"They have a lot of speed and it's tough to contain that," Dusenbury said. "We were able to force him to out until enough were able to get there. We made them work for their yards."

Andover's offense blitzed the Heights defense early and often, with junior quarterback Brady Strausz, scoring three first half touchdowns. It helped Andover to a 28-7 lead at the break. 

While Max Middleton did his part, it was junior Nik Pai stepping up in place of Goodnight at the fullback position. He rank for 125 yards on 16 carries and scored a touchdown for the Trojans. He also caught a 38-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.

"We can really be explosive when we need to be," Middleton said. "We have the weapons and it's just finding our rhythm and trusting our coaches."

Andover under second year head coach Dusenbury has seen their offense soar to new heights. There were moments last season where the Trojans made plays and put up points but five games into the season and they've already hit the 40-point mark twice. 

"It's just being cleaner and tighter in what we do and and our kids are growing into the system," Dusenbury said. 

Andover will travel to Valley Center next week to play the Hornets in a prep game before taking on Andover Central.

"I'm definitely looking forward to the game in two weeks but it's It's one game a time, each we're we're 0-0," Middleton said.

Andover 49, Wichita Heights 7

Wichita Heights;0;7;0;0;—7

Andover;14;14;14;7;—49

A - 9-yard TD run by Brady Strausz (Carter Champlin kick)

A - 22-yard TD run by Max Middleton (Champlin kick)

A - 2-yard TD run by Strausz (Champlin kick)

W- 31-yard TD pass from DJ Dingle to Chase Harris (Kaden Claassen kick)

A - 1-yard TD run by Strausz (Champlin kick)

A - 38-yard TD pass from Strausz to Nik Pai (Champlin kick)

A - 2-yard TD run by Middleton (Champlin kick)

A - 9-yard TD run by Pai (Champlin kick)

RUSHING—HEIGHTS: Randle 15-89; Dingle 10-21; Patterson 2-4; Claassan 1-minus-5. ANDOVER: Middleton 21-152; Pai 16-125; Strausz 7-53; Davis 8-51; Law 5-19; Longacre 1-0; TEAM 2-0.

PASSING (C-A-I-TD)—HEIGHTS: Dingle 13-27-1-1 95. ANDOVER: Strausz 4-12-0-1 72.

RECEIVING—HEIGHTS: Harris 3-55; Patterson 6-39; Garcia 2-1; Randle 2-0. ANDOVER: Pai 1-38; Rudy 1-33; Kelin 2-1.

Charles Chaney has been the Sports Editor for the Butler County Times-Gazette since Aug. 2019. You can reach him at cchaney@butlercountytimesgazette.com or on Twitter at @ChuckChaneyBCTG.