Andover Central gets revenge on Ark City in regular season final

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette
Jackson Rees runs by Arkansas City on Friday night. The senior stepped up in a big way, running for 178 yards on the night.

ANDOVER, Kansas — It feels good to get a little revenge every now and then. For Andover Central, they did just that on Friday night against Arkansas City, beating the Bulldogs 35-0.

After Arkansas City stunned the Jaguars last year on this field in the regionals of the 4A Playoffs, the Jaguars have been on a mission, punishing almost every team and winning games by dominating the defensive side of the ball. They allowed more than 20 points one this season and that was more evident on Friday night.

The players admitted there was some motivation from last year's loss.

"It was a big driving motivation for our whole team," Dillon Savage said. "It didn't feel good last year but it felt good this year."

The win moves Andover Central to 7-1 on the season and they will be the No. 3 seed in the Class 4A west bracket as the playoffs begin next week. 

"We're going to prepare for it every week like we're playing for the state championship," senior Nate Peak said. "I think we're coached up to do that and none of our coaches are going to let us take a week off, that's for sure."

The Jags dominated the game with a powerful run game that did not feature Ashton Barkdull but intsead saw senior Jackson Rees run it all over the Bulldogs. He finished with 178 yards rushing and scored two touchdowns on the night.

With no Gabe Welch for the Bulldogs, the Central defense pinned their ears back and really made the Arkansas City work for every yard they earned. Junior quarterback Cadon Clark was scrambling for his life all night long as he served as the replacement for Welch. 

The Bulldogs were squashed, finishing with minus-14 yards rushing on the evening. As a team, they had only 95 yards of offense.

"That's just who we are," Peak said. "We have a bunch of dudes who could probably play for other teams but they stay here and grind it out. Everyone works so hard in practice to be ready."

Savage agreed.

"Coaches tells us to all fly the ball and If everyone does it every play, then they can't go anywhere," Savage said. "That's what I like to do  for my teammates and my teammates do it for me too."

Rees scored on the game's opening drive for Central as they marched seven plays in less than three minutes for the game's first score. 

Rees would do it again in the second quarter, this time running up the gut for a 20-yard touchdown.

"He's shifty," Peak said when asked about what makes Rees special. "He gets low and runs hard, really hard. He's not too far off of Ashton."

He was a large reason why the Jaguars led 21-0 at the break.

The culmination of the game came midway through the fourth when Savage had a sack and then Peak added in a sack on his birthday that forced at turnover on downs and the Jaguars scored two plays later to make it 35-0 as Jace Rees scored.

In all, the Jaguars finished with 273 yards rushing on the night without Barkdull. Though, they expect him to play next week, knowing you can score and run the ball with this depth has to have coach Tuttle feeling good. 

"We have a lot of guys at any position who are willing to step up at any time," Peak said. 

The Jaguars will now get a week 9 game against Wellington to open the Class 4A playoffs. It'll be at Jaguar Stadium, with a 7 p.m. kickoff. The Jags are 3-4 all-time against Wellington and 0-1 in the playoffs.

"We can't overlook anybody," Tuttle said. "We have to prepare extremely well this week."

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.