ANDOVER — McPherson’s Tom Young and Andover Central’s Tom Audley voiced similar coaching concerns following Friday’s football game.
Concerns about penalties, turnovers, fundamental mistakes, mental mistakes.
Both expressed the need to improve in the coming weeks.
The learning curve is much less steep for McPherson, though, which defeated Andover Central 46-7. The Bullpups, ranked third in Class 5A, improve to 3-0, while Andover Central is 2-1.
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“I don’t want to sound unappreciative,” Young said. “Our kids played hard, but I thought we were sloppy with protection, and the penalties. Just really frustrated.”
McPherson had several holding penalties and a roughing the passer call, too. But the Bullpups dominated.
Quarterback Tyler Matthews was 14 of 23 for 247 yards and three touchdowns. Christian Ulsaker had 148 receiving yards and two touchdowns, while Kevin O’Connor had 183 rushing yards. He had an 86-yard touchdown run and a 72-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown.
What bothered Matthews was the Bullpups didn’t play as crisply as usual. Matthews entered the game completing 35 of 41 passes, and McPherson had only punted twice.
“Tonight we weren’t clicking as much as we wanted to,” Ulsaker said.
Still, McPherson picked apart Andover Central’s defense and got the Jaguars to commit six encroachment penalties.
On the Bullpups’ first touchdown, midway through the opening period, Matthews found Ulsaker on the left side of the field with two defenders on him. They didn’t have a chance on the 18-yard score.
On McPherson’s next drive, Matthews found Nick Gawanda. Matthews threw it over the defender and in the end zone to Gawanda for a 21-yard score.
Andover Central had controlled its first two games by running the ball.
“We were really concerned with their power game because their offensive line is huge and they’re good,” Young said.
While Central’s Alex Bontz finished with 145 rushing yards, McPherson held the offense — and the Jaguars’ big offensive linemen — in check.
“They played faster than us,” Audley said. “It’s getting off the ball, knowing where you’re going. I think at times we were a little disorganized or panicked.”
Central’s Landon Huslig had 108 passing yards and drove his team into McPherson territory, but he threw five interceptions, two caught by Jacob Reese.
“I don’t see this as anything but an opportunity to learn,” Audley said. “æ.æ.æ. It’s learning to play against a very good football team. Some of it you have to swallow a little pride and figure out you need to get better.”
McPherson (3-0, 2-0) 19 7 14 6 — 46
Andover Central (2-1, 1-1) 0 0 0 7 — 7
M—Ulsaker 18 pass from Matthews (run failed)
M—Gawanda 21 pass from Matthews (Houghton kick)
M—O’Connor 86 run (kick blocked)
M—Ulsaker 14 pass from Matthews (Houghton kick)
M—O’Connor 72 fumble recovery (blocked kick)
M—Davenport 1 run (Gawanda run)
AC—Matt Clements 16 pass from Huslig (Jibbe kick)
M—O’Bannon 7 run (run failed)
Rushing—McPherson, O’Connor 16-183, O’Bannon 4-29, Davenport 2-2, Matthews 8-(-2). Andover Central, Bontz 24-145, Beverly 4-15, Lock 1-11, Hoy 2-1, Huslig 7-(-1).
Passing—McPherson, Matthews 14-23-247-1, Houghton 1-1-16-0. Andover Central, Huslig 6-19-108-5, Koenigs 1-1-11-0.
Receiving—McPherson, Ulsaker 7-148, Gawanda 3-54, Hart 3-31, Clark 1-16, Bate 1-14. Andover Central, M. Clements 2-34, Nauck 1-32, Wagner 1-18, Lock 1-14, Rupert 1-11, J. Clements 1-10.
McPherson coach Tom Young after the game.
McPherson senior wide receiver Christian Ulsaker