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Andale goes airborne to beat Buhler

Published Oct. 12 at 11:24 p.m. | Last updated Oct. 13 at 10:10 a.m.

Andale isn’t used to having to resort to its passing game. But with Buhler’s defense not allowing much on the ground, the Indians were forced to go to the air to get their 36-31 win in a Class 4A-District 13 game on Friday.

“We haven’t done a lot of throwing this year,” Andale coach Gary O’Hair said. “They were doing a good job coming up and stopping our run because obviously we just wanted to pound it out.”

Needing a spark trailing by two scores late in the third quarter, O’Hair decided to see if his quarterback’s arm could make some magic.

Junior Jared Smarsh, who was 0 for 3 to that point, saw that sophomore Hunter Knoblauch had beaten the secondary and found him for a 58-yard score.

Buhler (4-3) responded on the ensuing kickoff when Riley Allen took the return 75 yards for a touchdown.

“You don’t have time to feel sorry for yourself,” O’Hair said. “You drop your head just that much, for one play, and it’s over with.”

Instead of giving in, Smarsh came back on the next drive with another bomb, this time a 42-yard touchdown to Tyler Bugner.

With momentum on its side, it was up to Andale’s defense to do the rest.

“The defensive coaches did a great job of coming together and making some adjustments and figuring out a way to stop them,” O’Hair said. “Because there early it didn’t look like we were having much success.”

Andale (6-1) got the ball back and took its first lead since early in the game after a 1-yard touchdown run from Gabe Probst.

It was Bugner’s interception on the final drive of the game that eventually sealed it.

“We had faith in all of our guys and knew we wouldn’t quit,” Bugner said. “It was crazy. Coaches went into halftime and told us that we just have to fight through it. We were staying with them and just had to play until the end.”

Andale took the initial lead in the game when it blocked a Buhler punt on the first possession, which Jake Brand picked up and took 20 yards for a touchdown.

After that, Buhler slowly took control, building two-score leads on multiple occasions throughout the game.

“I didn’t feel like it was ever getting out of hand,” Bugner said. “Our guys were still positive. We got down a little bit but we jumped right back in there. I felt like we’ve played the best game we’ve played all year.”

Buhler31414031
Andale6814836

A—Brand 20 blocked punt return (conversion failed)

B—Perry 31 field goal

B—Allen 59 run (Perry kick)

B—Allen 1 run (Perry kick)

A—Bugner 85 kickoff return (Knoblauch run)

B—Berblinger 17 run (Perry kick)

A—Knoblauch 58 pass from Smarsh (conversion failed)

B—Allen 75 kickoff return (Perry kick)

A—Bugner 42 pass from Smarsh (Seiler pass from Smarsh)

A—Probst 1 run (Knoblauch run)

Individual Statistics

Rushing—Buhler, Allen 25-181, Berblinger 13-76, Davidson 5-21, Perry 2-6; Andale, Probst 19-64, May 6-42, Smarsh 6-28, Knoblauch 14-26, Brand 1-8, Albert 1-7

Passing—Buhler, Berblinger 2-8-22-0; Andale, Smarsh 5-9-122-2

Receiving—Buhler, Shantz 1-12, Allen 1-10; Andale, Knoblauch 2-65, Bugner 2-53, Seiler 1-4