Derby defense mauls Andover Central
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ANDOVER One of Derby’s defensive drills is to get past the offensive linemen and into the backfield to swarm the quarterback. It can be an intense drill for the line because the coaches don’t blow the whistle until three defensive players surround the quarterback.
Friday night, Derby’s defensive line spent plenty of time around Andover Central quarterback Blake Meier, sacking him seven times in a 55-7 victory at Andover District Stadium.
Derby, ranked third in Class 6A, won its first game after falling to Salina South in the season opener.
Getting into the backfield is an adrenaline rush for the linemen, whose seven sacks were for minus-33 yards.
“It’s a blast,” said Derby defensive lineman Jordan Hill, who switched from offensive line this season. “It’s the best feeling in the world. Just the fact that you beat the guy in front of you and you got back there to make a sack for your team.”
Derby’s defense as a whole stood out, holding Andover Central to minus-6 rushing yards. Jaguars quarterback Blake Meier was 20-of-36 passing for 210 yards. Derby senior Travis Young had an interception in the first quarter.
The Panthers’ defensive line “is physical and fast, and they play very aggressive,” Derby coach Brandon Clark said. “It’s also the backers and our safeties are up there, too. They played well.”
Derby’s defensive linemen — Hill, Noah Packard, Kavan Mark and Chase Branstetter —know they must make quick decisions on each play.
“Everything’s a read for us,” Packard said. “We don’t know what our job will be until the ball is snapped. We read the offensive line and go where they go. It’s more quick-twitch for us. You have to be faster in the head a little bit, so you can read and react faster when you don’t know what you’re going to do.”
While Andover Central had 40 plays to Derby’s 18 at the half — more than the Jaguars ran in the season opener at Valley Center — Derby capitalized on its possessions.
After a five-play opening drive by Andover Central, Derby’s Tim Williamson returned a punt 36 yards to the Andover Central 38. Three plays later, Derby quarterback Jeremy Dunham scored.
Andover Central’s second drive was 11 plays, but a Meier pass ricocheted off the receiver, and Young was there for the interception.
The Jaguars’ third drive ended in a punt, which Derby senior DeAndre Goolsby (6-foot-5, 225 pounds) returned 69 yards for a 13-0 lead with 10:30 to go in the second period.
“That’s one time when we went for the block,” Clark said of the punt defense. “I think he probably made 10 guys miss, and we blocked one guy. Not too many guys that size can move like that.”
Less than three minutes after Goolsby’s touchdown, Derby scored three more touchdowns in four minutes — Tyler West from 53 yards, Garrett Xanders from 10 and Williamson on a 52-yard pass from Dunham.
“They were the real deal,” Andover Central coach Tom Audley said. “They’re very talented, athletic. They caused us fits out in space. Their speed just killed us.”
|Andover Central (1-1)||0||0||0||7||—||7|
D — Dunham 3 run (Williamson kick)
D — Goolsby 69 punt return (blocked kick)
D — West 53 run (Williamson kick)
D — Xanders 10 run (Williamson kick)
D — Goolsby 9 pass from Dunham (Williamson kick)
D — Dunham 20 run (Williamson kick)
AC — Milner 1 run (Peckham kick)
D — Tullis 77 kickoff return (Moeder kick)
Rushing — Derby, West 6-104; Xanders 11-54, Dunham 4-45, Williamson 1-16, Goolsby 1-7, Rust 3-8. Andover Central, Milner 22-24, Stamp 5-12, Birch 3-4, Meier 9-(-46).
Passing — Derby, Dunham 6-9-129-0; Rust 0-1-0-0. Andover Central, Meier 20-36-210-1.
Receiving — Derby, Williamson 1-52, Xanders 1-44, Goolsby 3-25, Palmer 1-8. Andover Central, Lock 8-80, Banwart 4-62, Harris 5-51, Huslig 1-7, Stamp 1-5, Downing 1-5.