ANDOVER — Very little seemed to go right Friday night for the Arkansas City High School football team in a 21-0 AV-CTL D-II loss to Andover at Andover District Stadium.
The defense was brilliant at times, but the Trojans (1-1, 1-0 AV-CTL D-II) took advantage of what they were given to score three touchdowns.
The Bulldogs (1-1, 0-1) committed two turnovers and allowed two blocked punts, overmatched by a larger Andover front line. Quarterback Gabe Welch was hit and hurried all night long and was sacked seven times for 41 lost yards.
“We did a poor job in executing our protections and when we did, we lost some 1-on-1 battles,” ACHS coach Jon Wiemers said. “They are a good defense and will take advantage of your mistakes.”
The Trojans cashed in the first turnover with a seven-play, 35-yard drive capped by a 1-yard touchdown plunge by tailback Max Middleton on their first possession of the game.
Ark City’s defense clamped down, but the offense couldn’t take advantage.
The Bulldogs mounted a 16-play drive down to the Andover 10-yard line that spanned the first and second quarters. But Welch’s fourth-down pass under pressure was defended to snuff out the potential game-tying threat.
Walker Moulton, Haden O’Toole and Cadon Clark intercepted backup quarterback Nehemiah Robinson, who was playing in place of starter Brady Strausz, who was knocked out of last week’s loss to Maize.
The second pick near the end zone set up the Bulldogs on their own 4-yard line. On second-and-10, Welch found O’Toole open around the 30-yard line, and O’Toole rambled all the way down to the Andover 14, where defensive back Tayton Klein saved a touchdown by forcing O’Toole out of bounds.
That tackle became all the more important when the drive stalled and Clark’s 21-yard field goal try 15 seconds before halftime hit the left upright.
Ashton Ngo gave Andover an insurance score when he capped a nine-play drive with a 4-yard TD run with 2:02 left in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs were just 3 of 13 on third-down conversions and finished with minus-16 rushing yards.
Welch was 10-of-27 passing for 155 yards, with one interception. Clark caught three passes for 41 yards.
Robinson completed just 4 of 10 passes for 60 yards, nearly completing as many to the ACHS defense as he did to his teammates, throwing three picks. But the Trojans amassed 246 yards on 44 carries behind the big offensive front.
“We can learn a lot from this game as an offense. We learned how AV-CTL II defenses play and we need to step it up in practice,” Wiemers said. “Our defense played great, we put them in too many bad positions that eventually led to (Andover) scoring.”
In doesn’t get any easier for the Bulldogs, who remain on the road this Friday at Goddard. The Lions (2-0, 1-0) defeated Valley Center 30-20 on Friday.
Statistics provided by Andover High School.
Andover 21, Arkansas City 0
And — Max Middleton 1 run (Cem Worpel kick), 8:21.
And — Ashton Ngo 4 run (Worpel kick), 2:02.
And — Middleton 34 run (Worpel kick), 4:59.
3rd Down Conv3-137-16
4th Down Conv1-42-4
Rush Att-Yards24-(minus 16)44-246
Punts No-Avg Yards5-6.62-18.5
RUSHING — Arkansas City, Gabe Welch 8-30, Lance Blubaugh 1-1, team 9-(minus 41). Andover, Max Middleton 18-135, Ashton Ngo 13-61, Josh Sparks 5-25, Dillon Schobourgh 4-20, Nehemiah Robinson 4-5.
PASSING — Arkansas City, Gabe Welch 10-27-1 155. Andover, Nehemiah Robinson 4-10-3 60.
RECEIVING — Arkansas City, Haden O’Toole 1-82, Cadon Clark 3-41, Lucas Barnes 1-12, Owen Bucher 2-12, Rhett Lathers 1-10. Andover, Ethan Richardson 4-60.
MISSED FIELD GOALS — Arkansas City, Cadon Clark, 21 (WL).