Varsity Kansas

Andover Central football: Jaguars to run again

Andover Central's Blake Meier
Andover Central's Blake Meier The Wichita Eagle

Even during the moments when the Andover Central offense was successful, the way the Jaguars were moving the ball was uncomfortable to their coach.

Tom Audley doesn’t mind a pass here or there to keep the defense honest, but it just felt strange when Central transformed into a one-dimensional passing team at times.

“It wasn’t intentional, I can guarantee you that,” said Audley, who built Central’s sterling reputation as a running team. “If you’re going to be successful, you have to be able to run the ball.”

Last year Central didn’t know if it could run the ball three times in a row and gain a first down, which Audley believes was a reason why the Jaguars struggled by their standards.

So even though Blake Meier returns for his senior year at quarterback, having thrown for over 1,700 yards and 15 touchdowns last season, Central is committed to becoming more balanced.

“I love to throw the ball,” Meier said, “but you have to realize that a good run game opens up the pass and I’ll do whatever it takes to get the team a win.”

The renewed effort begins with the offensive line, where seniors Jameson O’Connor, Sterling Brown and Logan Kirkhart return. Helping them out will be Kier Stamp, another senior returner, who is a menacing blocker at fullback that will look to clear the way for incumbent running back Lucas Milner.

“We want to get back to being that smashmouth team,” Stamp said. “We want to be able to run the ball down your throat every time.”

Even though last season ended in the state playoffs, Central was disappointed it only producing four wins.

Twenty-two seniors are the foundation and who Audley has entrusted to restore the Jaguars, not only to a winning season but to a deep run in the playoffs.

“Central kids have a lot of pride in the program,” Audley said. “We have 22 seniors, which is, for us, a big number. There’s a lot of leaders on this team and I’m looking forward to seeing how they do this year.”

ANDOVER CENTRAL JAGUARS

Coach: Tom Audley, 12th season, 79-36

League: AV-CTL Division II

Last season: 4-6, lost in first round of 5A playoffs

Last five seasons: 30-21

Projected 2013 playoff team? Yes

Top skill players

Player Ht. Wt. Pos Yr.
Blake Meier 5-11 175 QB Sr.
Zach Lock 6-1 190 WR-DB Sr.
Kier Stamp 6-1 200 FB-LB Sr.
Ryan Banwart 6-0 180 WR-DB Sr.

Top linemen

Player Ht. Wt. Pos Yr.
Jameson O’Connor 5-10 250 OC-DT Sr.
Sterling Brown 6-4 225 OL-DE Sr.
Logan Kirkhart 6-5 220 OL-DE Sr.
Taylor Hanna 6-3 220 OL-DL Sr.

2012 results

Opponent Score
Valley Center W,25-19
at Derby L,48-0
Goddard W,19-12
at Maize South L,33-21
Andover L,17-14
Salina Central L,26-0
Arkansas City L,41-20
West W,39-17
at Kapaun W,21-7
at Emporia L,55-27

2013 schedule

Date Opponent
Sept. 6 at Valley Center
Sept. 13 Derby
Sept. 20 at Goddard
Sept. 27 Maize South
Oct. 4 at Andover
Oct. 11 Salina Central
Oct. 18 at Arkansas City
Oct. 25 at West
Nov. 1 Kapaun

Blake Meier on his team

What Andover Central does well: “We’re going to play well as a family. You can always expect us to never give up and always battle through adversity.”

What has to improve: “The running game has to improve and I think it will because our offensive line is experienced and they love to block. They’re the only offensive line I know that genuinely loves to block. I’m very excited to have those guys in front of me this year.”

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