By Travis Mounts
Andover’s strong running game was enough for a 20-13 win over the visiting Goddard Lions last Friday in Andover.
The defeat to the Trojans dropped the Lions to 6-2 overall and gives them the No. 5 seed in the Class 5A West playoffs.
“It was a good game against a really good opponent. Andover is a quality team, and the weather conditions were in their favor,” said Goddard head coach Tommy Beason. Andover, under new head coach Ken Dusenbury, who went there from Garden Plain, has adopted a run-heavy approach. Goddard likes to throw a lot, and Friday’s cold and win made that more challenging.
Still, the Lions were in this game.
“We had the chances. Our defense gave us a chance to win,” he said, adding the Lions had field position twice while leading by a score. “We squandered our chances.”
Beason noted that only two touchdowns are separating the Lions from an 8-0 record. They lost to Andover Central by a touchdown.
Trailing 7-0, the Lions tied the game in the second quarter when Kyler Semrad found Dylan Reese for a 5-yard touchdown with 1:54 left in the half.
Braydon Wickliffe’s 1-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter put the Lions ahead 13-7, and that’s where the score stood going into the fourth quarter.
But Andover went ahead 14-13 early in the fourth quarter, and then scored again with 2:26 left in the game to close out the game.
Goddard relied mostly on the pass to move the ball, with Kyler Semrad completing 18 of 40 passes for 195 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Bo Bantz led the Lions with six receptions for 66 yards. Dylan Reese had five catches for 24 yards and a score. Sorren Carr had 51 yards and Jake Shope went for 41 yards, each with three catches.
The Lions managed 64 running yards, with Semrad gaining 35 yards and Reese adding 28. Goddard gave up a pair of fumbles, giving the Lions four turnovers in the game.
The Lions’ loss combined with a loss by the Eisenhower Tigers means the Lions will host their crosstown rivals this Friday at Goddard District Stadium.
Beason would have liked to have had a different opponent to start the playoffs, in part because he wants to see the Tigers do well, too.
“It makes it way harder. When there’s familiarity, you temper what you changed,” he said. “They know some things that give away what we’re going to do. It adds another level of preparation.”
Don’t expect big changes from the Lions. They’ll still throw long and be hyper-aggressive on defense.
“Our identity is not changing with this game,” Beason said. “It’s said that one of us has to end the other one’s season. I enjoy playing them because it’s a challenge…I root for them so hard, and I know they root for us.”