The story, headed into Friday night’s showdown of unbeatens Salina South and Andover, was all about the records.
After, it was only about two teams who seemed worlds apart.
“We were pretty hyped for tonight, to come out and show our best,” Salina South wide receiver Dylan Becker said. “And some things just started to go our way and we picked up on that momentum.”
Almost everything went Salina South’s way in a 41-10 win as the Cougars improved to 5-0 and handed Andover its first loss in a game where opportunities for the Trojans were few and far between.
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“We need to play teams like this,” Andover coach Mike Lee said. “We need to see where we are when it comes to playing teams like Salina South. I told our guys after, ‘You didn’t lose a league game, you didn’t lose a district game tonight ... there were some good moments and there were some that weren’t so good. I thought our kids played hard the entire time.”
Salina South, last year’s Class 5A runner-up, scored on its first two drives as 6-foot-6, 190-pound senior quarterback Dalton Wassenberg found Becker for a 46-yard touchdown pass then DeAngelo Turner made the score 14-0 on a 7-yard touchdown run just 45 seconds into the second quarter.
“It’s not a playoff game or a game to even get us in the playoffs, so you can’t take a whole lot out of it,” Wassenberg said. “It’s good for us as a self-esteem booster in that our defense plays well every game and our offense has been picking up the pace.”
Wassenberg’s 1-yard touchdown run with 2:04 left in the second quarter gave Salina South a 20-3 lead. Andover got the ball back and drove almost the entire length of the field, getting to the Cougars’ 5-yard line with 12 seconds left before a miscommunication on the sideline snuffed out Andover’s chance to cut into the lead. The Trojans’ field-goal unit came on to attempt the short kick, then, after a penalty, Lee tried to send the offense out on the field to take a shot at the end zone.
Andover couldn’t get a play off and time ran out in the half.
“At that point, I don’t want three points,” Lee said. “There was some chaos on the sideline after the penalty and we didn’t communicate that I wanted to try for a touchdown.”
Salina South went up 35-3 on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Wassenberg to Jacob Marcotte on the first play of the fourth quarter. Wassenberg finished with 140 passing yards and two touchdowns and ran for 42 yards and two more scores.
Eric McCullough led the Cougars with 143 rushing yards. Eli Renoux led Andover with 157 yards of total offense — 112 receiving and 45 rushing — and a 20-yard touchdown reception from Coen Rasmussen, who threw for 146 yards but was intercepted twice.
“When you’re out there, you’re just worried about getting a stop, don’t let them roll over us,” Renoux said. “(Salina South) is a really good team, they’re ranked No. 2 in 5A for a reason ... I’m glad I got the experience of playing them so I know where we’re at and what we need to do to get better.”
SS—Becker 46 pass from Wassenberg (Avila-Castro kick)
SS—Turner 7 run (Avila-Castro kick)
A—Fiszel 23 FG
SS—Wassenberg 1 run (kick failed)
SS—Stegmaier 5 run (Kochevar pass from Sullivan)
SS—Marcotte 25 pass from Wassenberg (Avila-Castro kick)
A—Renoux 20 pass from Rasmussen (Fiszel kick)
SS—Wassenberg 25 run (Avila-Castro kick)
Rushing—Salina South, Wassenberg 6-42, McCullough 21-143, Stegmaier 16-83, Turner 7-38. Andover, Rasmussen 8-24, Farha 19-76, Renoux 5-45, Criser 1-5.
Passing—Salina South, Wassenberg 10-15-140-0, Yarochowicz 0-0-0-0. Andover, Rasmussen 10-21-146-2, Farha 0-1-0-0.
Receiving—Salina South, Becker 2-43, Marcotte 6-82, Kochevar 2-15. Andover, Renoux 6-112, Farha 1-9, Seabrook 1-11, Butler 1-9, Thomas 1-15.