Andover rallies for win over Emporia
- Roundup: Maize beats Dodge City 17-14
- Friday’s top performers (Oct. 25)
- Wichita West bowls over Andover Central 34-13
- Allen powers Buhler past Cheney
- Maize South's defense saves day
- Northwest beats North 43-0
- Derbys Tyler West piles up 247 rushing yards in win over East
- Carroll rolls to 21st straight victory
- How ranked teams fared (Oct. 25)
- Fridays Kansas high school football scores (Oct. 25)
- Read how Week 8 football unfolded on Twitter
- Gallery: Week 8 high school football
ANDOVER For almost three quarters Friday, Miles Starks senior night football memory was in line to be a nightmare.
Then came the Andover cornerbacks 93-yard journey from the outhouse to the penthouse.
Starks, part of the Trojans stable of speedy skill position players, offset a first-half defensive blunder with a 93-yard kickoff return, providing the spark that lifted unbeaten Andover to a 28-21 victory over Emporia in a Class 5A-District 5 battle.
Andover, No. 4 in 5A, scored the games final 21 points, including senior running back Steven Youngs 5-yard run with 1:17 remaining, to improve to 8-0. The Trojans locked up one of the two district playoff berths along with Newton. Those teams will meet for the district title next Friday in Newton.
It gave us a lot of momentum, and it made up for the touchdown that I gave up, Starks said of his kick return, which pulled Andover within 21-14 in the final minute of the third quarter. That got us closer, and after that, we knew we could get it.
All of Andovers victories have come against teams with losing records. But Emporia (3-5), which won the district last season, needed the victory to keep its playoff hopes alive. And the Spartans played like it.
Emporia rolled up 364 yards 232 on the ground and built a 21-7 lead. Sophomore quarterback Tanner Taylor passed for 132 yards and two touchdowns, including a 32-yarder to Cody Campbell on the final play of the first half that put Emporia up 13-7.
The Spartans called a timeout two seconds before intermission, and sent Campbell on a fly route toward the end zone. Campbell slipped behind Starks man coverage, and Taylor hit him in stride as he raced into the end zone.
With what happened at the end of the half, Miles was highly motivated after that to get that return, Andover coach Mike Lee said.
But the Trojans faced greater adversity before launching their comeback. Emporia burned more than seven minutes off the clock in the third quarter on an 18-play, 85-yard drive. Andover aided the march with two offside penalties, and Taylor finished it with a 2-yard option keeper for a touchdown.
Austin Gordons two-point conversion pushed the Spartans lead to 14 points.
We were in the drivers seat at 21-7, Emporia coach P.J. Marstall said. Personally, I think we had Andover questioning themselves. All the sudden, they got a breath of fresh air.
Starks got his atonement on the ensuing kickoff. And despite being outgained 321-88 in the first three quarters, the Trojans were within striking distance.
Emporias first drive of the fourth quarter stalled, and a 10-yard punt gave Andover the ball at Emporias 43. The Trojans moved 29 yards to the Spartans 14, but an errant snap pushed them back. On fourth-and-18 from Emporias 26, backup quarterback Coen Rasmussen hit sophomore Eli Renoux on a crossing pattern, and Renoux outraced a defender into the end zone to tie the score at 21.
Andovers defense set the stage for the game-winning drive, stopping Gordon short of a first down near midfield with 5:42 to play. Rasmussen, who replaced injured starter Cole Gumeringer in the first quarter and misfired on his first four passing attempts, completed his final seven. He hit Cooper Nichols for 12 yards and Starks for 10 to move the Trojans to Emporias 20.
Rasmussen used his feet to convert a third-down run. He added runs of six and seven yards to give the Trojans first and goal. Two plays later, Young scored on a run to the right side.
Coen was great for us, and Steven was really strong late in the game, Lee said.
Emporia moved into Andover territory on its final drive, but the Trojans ended the threat when Landon Lawson hit Taylor on a fourth-down pass and the ball fell to the turf.
The comeback was a mix of joy and relief for Starks.
Id say moving forward, people should know were a good team, Starks said. They needed to get the win to keep playing, and we had to take it to them.
ELuthi 36 pass from Taylor (Brewer kick)
ARasmussen 20 run (Fiszel kick)
ECampbell 32 pass from Taylor (run failed)
ETaylor 2 run (Gordon run)
AStarks 93 kickoff return (Fiszel kick)
ARenoux 26 pass from Rasmussen (Fiszel kick)
AYoung 5 run (Fiszel kick)
RushingEmporia, Rodriguez 19-99, Gordon 14-60, Taylor 21-57, Backus 2-9, Kirmer 2-4, Campbell 2-3. Andover, Young 13-51, Starks 3-16, Rasmussen 15-15, Dusenbury 2-6, Gumeringer 2-5, Moss 3-3, Renoux 1-1, VanEpps 2-(-6).
PassingEmporia, Taylor 9-13-132-0, Higgins 0-1-0-1. Andover, Rasmussen 7-11-95-0.
ReceivingEmporia, Kirmer 4-37, Campbell 2-42, Luthi 1-36, Summey 1-14, Barkus 1-3. Andover, Starks 2-32, Renoux 1-26, Fullington 1-14, Nichols 1-12, VanEpps 1-10, Hoskinson 1-1.