Andover Central scores clean sheet in opener
It took more 27 minutes of a constant onslaught for the Andover Central Jaguars to finally get on the board.
That would be would Andover Central would need.
Matthew Everhart put in a nice ball off a deflection late in the first half to the Jaguars on the board. Andover Central would roll onto a 33-33 win.
The Jaguars improve to 1-0 to start the season.
“We’ve seen some crazy stuff in our first games,” Andover Central Head coach Steven Huskey said. “We don’t always wow in our first game of the year.”
While it may not have been a blow out performance, the Jaguars found their footing as they adjust with nine seniors stepping into those leadership roles.
Junior Brian Bumgarner is one that is expected to step into a big spot.
“Oh, it’s all the back line,” Bumgarner said. “I wouldn’t trade them for anything.”
Bumgarner was efficient, stopping his only shot he saw and keeping a clean sheet in his first start of the season.
Despite their size, Wichita Classical’s defense kept them in the match. They survived wave after wave of an Andover Central team trying to find who will replace players like Layton Harper and Jadyn Vossen.
Their first shot on goal came within the first 30 seconds of the match but the first of many saves by the strong Classical backline proved to be a little too much to start the match.
“We have to be more calm in the final third,” Huskey said. “We like to create chances but what is the quality of those chances? We just have to be more patient when we get those opportunities.”
Multiple free kicks for Andover Central finally led to the goal in the 27th minute. After a free kick from around midfield that was played into the box, Everhart took the ball in the box, and sent it by keeper Brett Buckingham.
“We have nine guys who’ve started at least seven games over their careers,” Huskey said. “Two have been playing since their freshman year. We have a lot of depth.”
That depth started to shine in the second half as the pressure kept mounting in favor of the Jaguars.
Classical tried to break through the Andover Central back line by playing the long through ball but the Jaguar defense held firm.
Jared Cromly gave Andover Central an insurance goal in the 53rd minute. Fresh out of the water break, Cromly caught a poor clearance by a Classical defender to strike and put them up 2-0.
David Darrah had a nice opportunity in the second half for Classical but the Jaguars backline forced an errant shot.
Nathaniel Stephens capped off the night with a rocket from the 18-yard box line, sending it into the lower right corner to make it 3-0 in the 78th minute.
Senior Blake Fimreite led the Jaguars with five shots on goal.
The Jaguars will host Trinity Academy in their home opener on Sept. 1 at Andover Central’s brand new stadium.
“We made a difficult schedule,” Huskey said. “I wanted a challenging schedule, so when we get punched in the mouth, you’re ready.”
Halftime: Andover Central 1-0. Goals: Andover Central: Cromly (1), Stephenson (1), Everhart (1). Shots: Andover Central 16, Wichita Classical 2. Saves: Andover Central: Bum-garner 1; Wichita Classical: Buckingham 6.