ANDOVER – Andover Central beat Maize South’s defense with two deep passes to Tyler Harris in the first quarter Friday night, then suspiciously didn’t try another one.
Except it wasn’t that suspicious. A simple adjustment prevented Harris – or any other Jaguars receiver – from getting open again.
Maize South’s defense turned an early shootout into a runaway, holding Central to 56 second-half yards in a 35-10 win.
After Harris caught two passes from Tyler Huslig for 107 yards, including a 69-yard touchdown, Maize South went away from one-on-one coverage against him. The Mavericks opted for safety help over the top, and with the threat of his favorite receiver eliminated, Huslig became ineffective.
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“We kind of worked during the week to kind of change the coverage a little bit to play those guys, with their height and their jumping ability and their speed,” Maize South coach Brent Pfeifer said. “We weren’t quite there with it – two or three days of practice didn’t quite get us there.
“We reminded the kids that this is what we wanted to do. It clicked, and they put it together on the field, so they did a nice job adjusting.”
After Harris’ two long receptions, he made two more for 14 yards. Huslig completed one pass after halftime and finished 5 for 21 overall despite completing three of his first five attempts.
Maize South’s blanket coverage didn’t negatively affect the Mavericks’ pressure. They sacked Huslig four times for minus-31 yards, a major factor in a Central ground game that produced 37 yards.
The Mavericks picked off Huslig twice, and Kale Bulloch’s fourth-quarter interception was returned for a touchdown.
“It happened to us, we went to the sidelines, we drew something new up and we fixed it,” Bulloch said of Huslig’s early success. “That’s how we held them. After that long touchdown, they really didn’t have much.
“We’re not used to getting scored on a lot. … We definitely take it personally when someone scores on us.”
Maize South has allowed 17 points in three league wins after holding seven opponents to 10 points or fewer last season. It doesn’t take much offense for the Mavericks to win, but they started in reverse Friday, with an offense that clicked and a defense that sputtered early.
Seven players had touches on Maize South’s opening touchdown drive, helping the Mavericks produce a balanced effort that featured 143 rushing yards and 71 passing yards as they built a 21-10 lead after three offensive series.
Maize South was never quite that good again, but the initial output gave Pfeifer optimism that the offense was improving, especially because so many players were involved.
“With as many new guys as we have, we’re still kind of putting guys in different spots and trying to figure out where our best mesh is,” Pfeifer said. “We had a good mesh right at the start, then we kind of (slowed) a little bit, then we picked it up and got going in. For us, it’s finding the right mix, and it’s nice to have a lot of different guys.”
MS — Koster 18 pass from Frausto (Galliher kick)
AC — Schoonover 41 FG
MS — Frausto 26 run (Galliher kick)
AC — Harris 69 pass from Huslig (Schoonover kick)
MS — Frausto 4 run (Galliher kick)
MS — Fettke 30 pass from Frausto (Galliher kick)
MC — Bullock 27 interception return (Galliher kick)
Rushing — Maize South, Perez 9-89, Maxson 14-88, Frausto 9-39, Fettke 2-9, Vicin 3-7, Bulloch 2-7, Jennings 1-4, Parke 1-(-1); Andover Central; Birch 19-60, Brown 2-5, Huslig 6-(-28).
Passing — Maize South, Frausto 16-22-150; Andover Central, Huslig 5-21-123-2.
Receiving — Maize South, Maxson 7-43, Parke 4-35, Koster 3-39, Fettke 1-30, Perez 1-3; Andover Central, Harris 4-121, Birch 1-2.