The opening kickoff may have determined Andover Central’s fate Friday night.
Maize South recovered a fumble on the return at the Andover Central 24, and senior quarterback Chase Bell led the way from there in a 21-7 AV-CTL Division II victory at Andover District Stadium.
Junior Jeremiah Fettke recovered the Jaguars fumble, and junior running back Lonnie Scifres scored on a 2-yard run three plays later, giving the Mavericks a 7-0 lead and putting the Jaguars in a hole 1 minute, 13 seconds into the game.
Bell said the opening fumble recovery triggered Maize South’s momentum.
“It lit the spark,” Bell said. “It did everything for us right there.”
Mavericks coach Brent Pfeifer singled out the recovery.
“I think the first play did it all,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of adversity this week. The biggest thing we needed to do (Friday) is to put a chip on our shoulder … and then we get our fire going.”
Bell proved to be difficult for the Jaguars (2-2, 2-1), carrying 21 times for 132 yards and two second-quarter touchdowns, taking advantage of his 6-foot-4, 200-pound frame for first-down yardage.
Pfeifer said the game also provided some redemption for Scifres, who had fumble problems of his own two weeks ago in a 3-0 loss to Eisenhower and missed last week’s game because of injury.
“He had three fumbles against Eisenhower, which is not like him,” Pfeifer said. “This is more like Lonnie.“
Andover Central managed to tie the score 7-all in the second quarter on a 46-yard screen pass from Blake Meier to Kevin Olney.
But the Mavericks (3-1, 3-1) replied with a 10-play, 65-yard drive, capped by Bell’s 2-yard run – the first of his two rushing scores. However, Maize South led 13-7 after missing the conversion.
On Andover Central’s ensuing possession, junior Logan Mormando intercepted Meier, and Bell capped a seven-play drive with a 5-yard scoring run. Bell then ran in the two-point conversion just before halftime.
Both defenses clamped down in a scoreless second half, although Andover Central narrowly missed a touchdown after blocking a punt and getting the ball at the Maize South 8. But backup quarterback Peyton Huslig was stopped inches short of the goal line, and the Mavericks took over on downs.
That was yet another frustration for Andover Central coach Tom Audley, who also said the opening fumble played a role but liked his team’s second-half play.
“We didn’t get off to a very good start,” he said. “We’re going to have to be able to play 48 minutes. We can’t hang our head; we’ve just got to get better.”
MS – Scifres 2 run (Sheehan kick)
AC – Olney 46 pass from Meier (Peckham kick)
MS – Bell 2 run (kick failed)
MS – Bell 5 run (Bell run)
Rushing — Maize South: Bell 21-132, Scifres 14-65, Maxson 8-8. Andover Central: Milner 16-48, Olney 4-18, Birch 1-13, P. Huslig 1-1, Meier 10-(-22).
Passing — Maize South: Bell 2-5-0-13. Andover Central: Meier 7-12-1-106.
Receiving — Maize South: Evans 1-7, Domnick 1-6. Andover Central: Olney 2-60, Banwart 3-34, Koenigs 1-7, Harris 1-5.